The Swansong Conspiracy – #Book #Review (The Eldritch Twins #1) by Nick Vossen

Synopsis:

After a near cataclysmic worldwide event shook the foundations of society and unleashed numerous supernatural hazards onto the Earth, twins Quincy and Lilly just want to lead their lives as normally as possible. However, this proves to be quite difficult. The twins are the heirs of legendary horror writer and occultist W.A. Swansong, who has been declared a prophet now that many of his gruesome creations appear to really exist.

When a mysterious inheritance falls into the twins’ hands, a strange and violent secret organization becomes hell-bent on finding them. Quincy and Lilly are forced to flee their hometown of New Orleans, leading them on a wild, supernatural chase throughout the southern United States. With only a handful of allies and a trapped Fire Vampire named Tim, the twins uncover a great mystery tied to their inheritance, the source of ll pandemonium, and even the true origins of mankind.

My review:

Many thanks to the author for an ARC copy. Apologies for taking a while to review.

I loved this. I loved how crazy it is… The characters of Lily and her twin brother Quincy are awesome, as is the Fire Vampire, Tim. I especially liked Tim and his character arc was just brilliant. It’s a very fast-paced read and there are times where you shift from the twins to Sean’s scenes and you kind of go, whoa… hold on there… whose this? And what’s about to happen now? This took a bit of getting used to… But, I guess it’s intentional. It’s the kind of novel that will have you gripping your seat, or howling with laughter.

The strengths of The Swansong Conspiracy lie in the characterisation, (particularly via the dialogue,) the humourous and engaging plot and the well written action scenes. The banter between the twins is spot on. There are also some amazing descriptions in the book and the story is unusual and weird but in a good way.

So, a definite recommend for me especially if you would like to read something a little less ‘normal.’

While reading The Swansong Conspiracy I kept on having this sensation as if an animated reel of all these ghostly, strange, horrific and dangerous characters was going on in my head. I can see The Swansong Conspiracy transferring well to film. Great debut, Mr. Vossen. Highly imaginative. I’m impressed. 

My rating: 5 stars

Author Bio:

Nick Vossen was raised on blockbuster films from the 80s and 90s as well as fantasy and sci-fi novels, comics and games. No matter the medium, his love for storytelling grew ever larger. Having always had a fascination with the fantastical and weird, he quickly grew fond of authors such as Terry Pratchett, H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman and many more. During the winter of 2017 Nick released an anthology of short, weird fiction entitled The Fissures Between Worlds, which delves into the strange places on Earth where time does not flow as it should. It was received quite favourably, and so Nick’s desire to tell more stories grew. He has since been privileged to appear in several other anthologies, magazines and short story compilations and has quite a few projects still in the works. His biggest fascinations and inspirations are old forgotten woodlands, the deepest depths of the oceans and the unsettling, uncanniness of retro futurism.

Nick graduated in Media- and Culture studies at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He is currently working as a freelance creative writer and author. He also frequently works on projects in the Dutch indie-film industry, putting his talents to use in art-direction, set-dressing and of course screenwriting. His first novel, The Swansong Conspiracy (book 1 of the Eldritch Twins series) is set to be released at the end of 2020 by Parliament House Press. The book will offer a unique blend of coming-of-age comedy, supernatural horror and mystery.

Authors Website: https://nickcronomicon.wordpress.com/

And a great article to read:

https://www.parliamenthousepress.com/post/nick-vossen-on-tour-the-inspirations-and-process-behind-the-swansong-conspiracy

Have you read The Swansong Conspiracy?

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Writers in Isolation – Drew Neary and Ceri Williams – The Clockmaker – #COVID19 #Isolation #Writers Supernatural #Novel #Series

Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.

How are Ceri and Drew coping with this enforced isolation?

Hello everyone!

We are Ceri Williams and Drew Neary and we co-write supernatural thrillers. Our first book “The Clockmaker” is a novel set just after WW2. There is a third member of our team – our illustrator Priscila Arandez who produces our cover art.


Our second novel “The Perfect Child,” will be released some time after
COVID-19 finally releases us from it’s grip.

Drew:

The biggest difference to my day in lockdown, is that my children are now at home 24/7. As a parent this offers a lot of challenges but also opportunities. Firstly, the children have to be kept safe, schooled and given plenty of exercise time. I found that establishing a routine really helped–so we do our schooling, then it’s exercise time- usually a walk in the sunshine to somewhere green and leafy. After that we have free time where the children usually play and I get some writing done. Then it’s evening
mealtime and we sit down and watch a DVD, play a board game etc.


I always carry a pen and note pad or my Dictaphone with me during the day. So when moments of inspiration strike, I can record them for later use and they are not lost nor fade from memory. So far, even though my writing time has drastically reduced, it’s been quite an enjoyable, positive experience.


There are so many hours in the day, so the writing has to be reduced – but it’s always there, on a smaller scale bubbling away in the mind, being recorded, kept in pockets for a later day.


As co-writers, the major downside of lock down is no face – to – face meetings. This, I really miss, but we have to be sensible and follow the guidelines, so it just means more chats on the phone and on Facebook.


Ceri


I am less disciplined than Drew and only write when the muse occurs. It is harder now that we are apart as writers, but we send each other pieces of writing and that often kick starts my own writing process. I am solitary by nature and so these weeks of isolation aren’t unusual. But lack of choice to go out, see friends and especially loved ones has been very hard for me, as it has for millions globally.

Us:


We greatly miss our author visits to shops, libraries and book clubs. Not only is it a chance to promote and sell our book, but we are very sociable people and it’s fantastic to meet and engage with fellow readers and book fans.


There is no real way around this current situation as authors promoting their work. Social media of course-Twitter, Face book etc, are all tools to promote, meet new people and talk but for me it’s just not quite the same as meeting people in person.
One of the questions we are often asked on our visits or interviews, is how do you co-write? Is it difficult? Is there conflict? Oddly, it is a very smooth process based on respect for each other’s ideas and individual styles of writing.


We both write either independently (and prior to this lockdown) together. Then amalgamate, discuss next steps and repeat the process.

Ceri is brutal with the editing which happens primarily when we are both
satisfied that the story is all down.

So at the end of the day, lock down has put us all into our little personal
bubbles.

The Clockmaker is the first in an upcoming series of gripping supernatural books by Nottingham based Ceri Williams and Drew Neary.

Widowed in World War 2, Annette and her young son face a completely different life as they exchange the devastation of post-blitz London for the slow pace of a small village. The house they have inherited is old, its bones still settling, creaking noises in the dead of night and the murmur of scritch-scritch in the walls. Located outside the village of Lochnagar, it’s been empty for many years. 

The unfolding of how the Clockmaker made his plans, his meticulous preparations and macabre creations, all builds up to a series of gruesome, horrific murders. These have just one end in view: his release from that which has held him captive for centuries. 

The Clockmaker is a character in the much larger Novel – Optics. When we put some extracts on our website, we received acclaim, and requests to develop the minor characters further. That was when The Clockmaker was born,” comment debut authors Ceri and Drew. The authors are currently arranging a series of book launches around the local area and have engaged various local writing groups with their debut. 

A chilling supernatural novel with characters you’ll come to care for, The Clockmaker will interest anyone who fears the dark – and what might lie in the shadows… DREW NEARY became interested in history, science fiction/fantasy and conspiracy theories in his teenage years. This prompted him to write short stories over the years. He is also a fan of tabletop gaming.

CERI WILLIAMs has always loved language, and after a 5 year stint in advertising and journalism, now writes supernatural horror and fantasy.

The Clockmaker is their first book and forms part of an upcoming series. PUBLICATION DATE 28th May 2018 ISBN: 9781788034586 Price: £8.99 

A few of our reviews for The Clockmaker


I enjoyed this book. It has some Gothic, is a bit historical, has some
supernatural and a touch of horror. This is not a gore book but a clever
unravelling of a story where the human characters are not the most
unnerving.


“It was brilliantly written with a selection of both historic and
atmospherically creepy terms, and the conclusion was both surprising
and satisfying to the tale as a whole. A great Gothic thriller.”

“There’s nothing I can say about this book apart from Brilliant. Great story very well written with characters the reader cares about. Read it.”


“An amazing Gothic thriller set in the Scottish Highlands with cinematic
type prose that hooked from the beginning. One of the most well-
written books I’ve read in a while.”


“Absolutely loved this book, the writing is beautiful, like poetry
sometimes. Thought the story very gripping. A little bit dark and a little
horror would recommend this to anyone who loves books and good
writing. “


Atmospheric and chilling!
“If you like creepy, supernatural horror, this is the book for you.
Brilliantly alarming; kept me awake half the night! Well written, great
settings, absorbing themes and characters. “


The writing was exceptional, the characters alive and real, the Clockmaker terrifying. I found it hard to put down, A Gothic thriller that will keep you awake at night! Wonderful characters and setting and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat.


Beautiful yet insanely creepy.
First of all, this book is very well written. The prose and the descriptions of London, war-ravaged Berlin, and most impressively Scotland, all created a beautiful aura that had a slow-burning undercurrent of horror beneath it. It takes a little while to figure out just what type of creature the villain is, but the authors left little clues throughout the early pages to create suspense. This is part historical and part something else. It’s a wonderful read.

https://www.instagram.com/ceriw1497/

Thank you so much to Drew and Ceri for being my guests.

Well, I’m intrigued by the sound of The Clockmaker and the apparent effortless of the teamwork involved. Now let me see, I have a thing about clocks…. and I love the supernatural… I do enjoy a novel set in WW2…

I’m sure you enjoyed this interesting blog post too. Do comment below I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Clockmaker.

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Glimpses by Hugh. W Roberts

http://hyperurl.co/42ou22

Goodreads Synopsis:

After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book.

Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.

Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?

“If you’re looking for a thoroughly entertaining read, Glimpses is the book for you. Each story has been cleverly crafted; through Hugh’s wonderful imagination, he has the ability to whisk you away to many different worlds, past, present and future. Every story makes a compelling read and just when you think you know what’s going to happen next, Hugh masterfully reveals a brilliant twist. With bite-size and longer stories, Glimpses is a must-read. I loved it.” – Esther Newton, Writer, and Author.

My review:

Welcome, this is my first review of 2017. Happy New Year!!! Happy Reading!!!

This is undoubtedly an excellent collection of short stories from Hugh W. Roberts.

In my opinion, short stories are so difficult to write as the author has to encapsulate so much into such a rigid format and end on an engaging twist too.  Hugh effortlessly manages to introduce us to such a wide range of well-crafted stories, encompassing several genres, ranging from Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thriller, Drama, Humour, LGBT, to Horror, with something for everyone in this entertaining compilation.

When Hugh jokingly remarked that his horror stories might give me nightmares I really didn’t believe that this kind-hearted chap could write that scary a horror story, but I was so wrong!!!!  The particular one that stays in my mind the most is undoubtedly Needles, which definitely made me wince a lot and with a title like that it’s no wonder! Other favourites of mine in the horror category are The Easter Bunny,  The Gingerbread House, and Lipstick. You can see I do like to read horror! I also have a soft spot for The Cake Decorator, (Thriller) and The Last Train to Aldwych (Ghost). Every single story in the compilation is a little nugget of imagination. Hugh may be dyslexic but he certainly has no difficulty on the imagination score! His powers of imagination and creativity are first class. Often dyslexic people are amazingly talented, and Hugh certainly is.


My advice:

Glimpses is highly recommended for all short story enthusiasts. Go get a copy!!

My rating:

4 stars.

Competition Time….

To celebrate the launch of Glimpses Hugh is offering six wonderful Amazon gift prizes. Follow the link here to find out more: Hughs Views and News Competition

Do check out his most recent post about this as Hugh has kindly given us a clue!

A clue from Hugh – Glimpses Competition

Please do support Hugh and buy a copy of his book, and if you could share a review even better…

DISCLAIMER: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

Amazon buying link:

Universal buying link for Glimpseshttp://hyperurl.co/42ou22

I recently interviewed Hugh on Kyrosmagica. Here’s the link:

Hugh W. Roberts Awesome Author Interview

Have you read Glimpses? Do leave a comment below and let me know…

Soon I will be reviewing Ruth Hatfield’s The Colour of Darkness, the second book in the Book of Storms Trilogy, so keep a look out for that.

Bye for now, back to my books…

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http___signatures-mylivesignature-com_54494_373_07053e7d9657cc81851243011100e58f

Glimpses

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Raven Boys By Maggie Stiefvater

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Goodreads Synopsis:

There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My review:

I haven’t read any Maggie Stiefvater before. It’s wonderful when you discover a new author.

Why I enjoyed The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle#1):

1. Great Characters

2. Interesting premise – Blue’s kisses will kill off her true love.

3. Clairvoyants, spirits, magic, ley lines.

4 A Quest to find Owen Glendower, The Raven King.

5. Maggie Stiefvater uses foreshadowing very successfully, particularly with regard to Noah.

6. There’s a well kept journal that wants! Loved the idea of this! With its very own shape doodle.

Tip: I did find Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style took a while to get into, but when I did I really enjoyed The Raven Boys. This is a series, there is Book two to look forward to in this quartet: The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2.)

The Raven Boys is set in Henrietta, Virginia, a “town known for its ravens.” 94

Blue Sargent has been warned off kissing her true love as one single kiss will seal his fate, and believe you me his fate ain’t nice, one kiss and then he’s a goner. No more kissing, no more breathing, just dead. Quite a powerful premise, a mighty hook, but does the novel take you down this kissing, route to death path? Read and find out!

Blue joins in the church watch, on St Mark’s eve, April 24th,  with Neeve, her half aunt who happens to be a famous TV psychic. Blue normally goes with her mother but this time she finds herself having a bit of a weird moment, on this particular St Mark’s eve she sees the spirit of a young man:

“He was so real. When it finally happened, when she finally saw him,  it didn’t feel like magic at all. It felt like looking into the grave and seeing it look back at her.” 15

There are a wonderful array of interesting characters to engage with in this novel. This is partly because Blue doesn’t live in your typical household, Blue lives in 300 Fox Way, a clairvoyant household with her mum Maura and her psychic aunts, Calla and Persephone.

The Boys:

There are several Raven boys to take a pick from! I know I have my favourites, I’m sure you will too!

There’s Gansey  (Blue initially calls him President Cell Phone).

“Gansey was the boy she either killed or fell in love with. Or both.”

The Raven Boys aren’t quite your usual boy next door type: “There was something odd and complicated about all of these boys, Blue thought – odd and complicated in the way that the journal was odd and complicated.”

Then there’s Adam, who isn’t a rich kid like the others:

“Success meant nothing to Adam if he hadn’t done it for himself.” 132.

Adam has a difficult home life, and he’s trying to rise above his problems but there’s always this chip on his shoulder which he can’t quite shake off.  Adam’s home life is certainly no cake walk, I really felt sorry for him.

As well as Gansey and Adam there are two brothers Declan and Ronan Lynch, who have been “at odds for as long as Adam had known them.”

Gansey prefers the company of Ronan and I have to agree I prefer Ronan too!

“Adam suspected Gansey’s preference was because Ronan was earnest even if he was horrible, and with Gansey, honesty was golden.”

There is a villainous side to Ronan but he’s not your stereotypical villian with just one side to his character. He also has a kind, unexpected side, which is demonstrated by his care and attention to a tiny foundling raven :

“You look like a super villain with your familiar,” Adam said. Ronan’s smile cut his face, but he looked kinder than Blue had ever seen him, like the raven in his hand was his heart, finally laid bare.”

More about the mighty raven:

“The raven was Glendowers bird.”

“Legend had it that Glendower could speak to ravens, and vice versa.”

Then there’s Noah who’s the less detailed out of all the Raven Boys, he’s a  bit grey round the edges, but there’s a good reason for that.

My favourites out of the boys are Adam, Ronan, and Gansey. I reckon Ronan is going to get very interesting in book 2 – my intuition is telling me! Okay, maybe intuition with a bit of help, the last line of the novel kind of hints that this is the way the series develops.

On top of clairvoyancy, readings, spirits, there’s a four year quest, to find Owen Glendower, The Raven King. But the Raven Boys are not the only ones searching for Glendower, a young man comes for a reading with Blue’s psychic mother, Maura, Calla and Persephone.

As well as all the wacky aunts, we have a very special journal:
“More than anything, the journal wanted.”  84 

The Journal is about ley lines and all manner of other details – “invisible energy lines that connected spiritual places ” Glendower, sleeping knights,  “sacrificed kings, ancient water goddesses and all of the old things that ravens represented. 

The adventure starts to step up a notch when Helen, Gansey’s sister, a helicopter pilot takes them exploring. Blue goes along and directs them to the church on the ley line. They fly over a shape in the overgrown grass that resembles a raven.

Gansey: “If they removed Glendower from the corpse road, I think the magic that keeps him asleep would be disrupted.”215  She said, ‘Basically, you mean he would die for good if he was removed from the line.”

All manner of incredible things happen, but not to spoil it for you by saying too much.

Would I recommend reading the Raven Boys? Absolutely. Highly recommended for readers of Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance, Supernatural, Mystery.

My rating:

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4.5 Pentagons

If you would like a Recap of the book, I found this excellent site, but beware as there are spoilers: http://recaptains.co.uk/2013/09/the-raven-boys-by-maggie-stiefvater/

In short, Recaptains is a blog dedicated to spoiling books on purpose. Written by none other than Maggie Stiefvater herself!

Have you read The Raven Boys? Do comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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Review of The Exiled by William Meikle

theexiled

Goodreads Synopsis:

When several young girls are abducted from various locations in Edinburgh, Detective John Granger and his brother Alan, a reporter, investigate the cases from different directions. The abductor is cunning, always one step ahead, and the only clue he leaves behind at each scene are the brutalized corpses of black swans.

When the brothers’ investigations finally converge at a farmhouse in Central Scotland, they catch a glimpse of where the girls have been taken, a place both far away yet close enough to touch. A land known throughout Scottish history with many names: Faerie, Elfheim, and the Astral Plane. It is a place of legend and horror, a myth. But the brothers soon discover it’s real, and, to catch the abductor, they will have to cross over themselves.

To catch a killer, John and Alan Granger will have to battle the Cobbe, a strange and enigmatic creature that guards the realm, a creature of horrific power that demands a heavy price for entry into its world. The fate of both realms hangs in the balance…and time is running out…

My review of The Exiled, by William Meikle. This is an advanced readers copy that the author has kindly supplied to me via NetGalley. Publication date 1 July 2014.

My review:

The Exiles does much to recommend it. It combines a well crafted detective story, a serial killer thriller, and dark supernatural fantasy, in a work that is gripping and about as original as it gets. The story landscape is Edinburgh, what more could I ask for?The majority of my young adult life was spent in Edinburgh, and the way that William Meikle describes the city, and some of its less salubrious inhabitants and aspects, certainly brought the narrative to life. A large proportion of the detective, and investigative journalistic time was spent in watering holes, persuading half drunk Scotsmen to tell all! The two main characters are brothers, John is a detective inspector, and Alan a journalist with an uncanny ability to research leads. To begin with Meikle paints them as brothers who have grown apart, almost like separate entities, on two sides of the divide. The Macabre nature of the crime draws the two brothers together, in a quest to find and bring to justice the abductor of the missing girls. Meikle manages to interweave a tale that is at times, so dark, that a smattering of black humour, and drunken, humorous elements, are needed to lighten the heavy load. The book is most definitely a page-turner. The characters are realistically depicted. The stress and pressure put on detectives investigating terrible crimes such as these, is realistically portrayed. In fact, John can only seem to cope with the situation by resorting to chain-smoking. moreover, Meikle stereotypes the Scots’ drinking habits, by suggesting that a stiff drink is a prerequisite for all and sundry. Somehow, his realistic, colloquial, dialogue and well crafted scenes, allow him the license to get away with this. Very early on, it’s clear that this is not a novel for the faint-hearted. The darkness, and disturbing graphical images that Meikle paints may well haunt the reader. In light of this, I would not recommend this to younger readers. But, having said that, the darkness of the plot is lightened by the desperation of the two main characters to solve the mystery, and stop the advancing progress of evil. I’m impressed by Meikle’s imagination, and his ability to combine Fantasy with detective genre in such a convincing, and readable way. I would be interested in reading more of his work. I found The Exiled difficult to rate but decided on four stars, though for originality I think it would score a high-five!

Very highly recommended for readers of thriller, dark fantasy, horror.

My rating:

4 stars

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ISBN no. 9781940544212 available on Dark Fuse. http://www.darkfuse.com/ and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/

William Meikle’s website: http://www.williammeikle.com/

Information from his website: He is a Scottish genre writer now living in Newfoundland. When he’s not writing Willie drinks beer, plays guitar and dreams of fortune and glory! He has 20 novels and several hundred short stories in genre presses, anthologies and magazines. His current top seller is the sci-fi novel THE INVASION with 20,000 copies sold and counting.

Have you read The Exiled? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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