When a cunning enemy enslaves the kingdom, a famed warlock-knight must survive a gauntlet of perils to save his people.
Augum Stone is only sixteen and already a legend. He heard his name chanted in the arena by tens of thousands. He vanquished a notorious tyrant and ended a war. And he revived a warlock-knight order that lay dormant for generations.
But these feats came with a price—he needs combat to feel alive, to test his limits.
As Augum struggles with restraint, a callous enemy kingdom enslaves his people. And that enemy wants more than mere control—they’re searching for an ancient weapon with which to conquer Sithesia.
Now, with the future of all the kingdoms at stake, Augum and his friends must cobble together lost historical clues to find the weapon before the enemy does. Standing in the way is a manipulative prince, a traitorous nobility, a vengeful rival . . . and Augum’s own reckless nature.
* * *
Are you as excited as I am? The book is undergoing formatting as we speak, and we’re still looking at a late September launch. You’ll hear from me again soon!
P.S. I just sent out an email to all my subscribers which includes the first chapter (those of you with Gmail accounts may want to check your “Promotions” tab–and drag and drop them into your regular email tab, as sometimes emails get lost in the shuffle like that).
The Audiobook for Burden’s Edge (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book one) is now available for preorder, and is launching in only a week–June 28th! It’s narrated by the accomplished Gary Furlong, who brings an Irish flair to my work.
Also, I just signed a contract with Grammy winner Stefan Rudnicki, who narrated Arcane (The Arinthian Line, book one), to narrate Riven (The Arinthian Line, book two), which is tentatively scheduled for a November launch. The plan is for him to finish the entire series.
Lastly, Honor’s Price (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book two) is on schedule to launch late summer. It’s with the line editor as we speak. After I get it back, I expect things to go quickly on the final few edit rounds. It’s a massive book, almost as long as Legend, and has a ton of plot twists, going in directions few would guess. I am beyond excited with this book, as I feel it’s a nice balance between The Arinthian Line and the direction Fury of a Rising Dragon is taking. The trio grow as people, as do their friends. It was a complicated and ambitious undertaking, but I had a total blast writing it and am truly proud of the work. I suspect you will be enthralled :)
Items in this update:
1. Augum, Bridget and Leera news.
2. Audiobook contract signed for Fury of a Rising Dragon series.
3. I interview AC Cobble, author of the bestselling fantasy series Benjamin Ashwood.
Item 1: Augum, Bridget and Leera news.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking when Honor’s Price (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book two) will be ready. Well, I finally have some news on that front. I finished the first draft of the book and the first edit round. It’s now entered the deeper editing stages, which will be compromised of approximately six more additional rounds of editing before it will be ready. So we’re looking a late summer-ish launch.
It’s a big book, almost as big as Legend (The Arinthian Line, book five), and is packed full of action, drama and plot. Augum, Bridget and Leera discover ancient secrets about Arcaners while facing a Canterran cult, assassins, and the Von Edgeworth line. There’s a turning-sixteen womanhood ceremony for a certain someone, numerous personal trials for the trio, a frank encounter between Augum and Jez, new spells, and loads more.
Item 2: I signed an audiobook contract with Tantor for the Fury of a Rising Dragon series.
I’m excited to announce that Fury of a Rising Dragon will become an audiobook series! I’ll announce who the narrator will be on my author Facebook page shortly. As to The Arinthian Line, I’m in talks with Grammy winner Stefan Rudnicki to finish the series, so keep your fingers crossed (Audiobooks are notoriously expensive projects and I write long books, so no guarantees yet).
Item 3: I’m trying something different: an interview with an author some of you may have already heard about :) Away we go!
I’d like to welcome AC Cobble, the author of Benjamin Ashwood, to this edition of “Milk Crate Interviews with Sever Bronny.” AC, there’s your milk crate (mind the dust and piles of half-read books) and I’ll take my seat on mine after this awkward pause.
All right, isn’t this fun? My wife works with me in my author career and is super supportive (she set up the milk crates for this interview. You might find her lurking about the place munching on granola bars, Kindle in hand). I also have a cat named Buddha. She’s a small loaf with big eyes and likes to wander about the place like a princess. Any pets, kids, dolphins on your end? Wife? Husband?
Hi Sever, thanks for having me! I’m married to a wonderful wife who … well … initially said no to me becoming a full-time author. She came around though! She has an open mind, if not an initial faith in my ability to tell a good yarn. To be fair to her, my last creative endeavor was painting. It ended in a lot of brainstorming and a still-blank canvass, which she’d bought me for my birthday 6 years ago (someday, someday). We have three children, all boys, ages 8 months to 5 years. Now that I work from home, taking time out of the day to deal with the fighting, crying, and people yelling for food is a wonderful reminder of what my corporate life used to be like. It’s like I never left! My wife has a dog, which after 10 years of dating and marriage has still not accepted me. Maybe the nightly battle where the dog “forgets” she has her own bed in our room and doesn’t need to be in my spot is just a friendly joke? Every night I get a look from the dog that says, “I would prefer it if you died”. Ah, what else? I’m from Tennessee originally but live in Houston, TX now. I love to travel but have very few hobbies outside of writing and the family.
You mentioned you lived a “corporate life.” What exactly does that mean? Any parts of that life you miss? What do you love most about being a fulltime author?
Before making the jump to the book business, I worked for a massive, global corporation (think top 5 in the world). My days were filled with the normal things at any place like that – meetings & e-mail. There were plenty of the stereotypical people and politics that you can imagine going on, which I don’t miss a second of. But there were also some really awesome people who I keep in touch with still (had a few over for dinner this weekend!). I also really enjoyed my final role at the company. I was something like an internal consultant. I traveled about 25% of the time, worked from home 74%, and went to my local office 1%… That was pretty cool – and helps explain how I held a full-time job and wrote a couple of novels. I role allowed me to travel all over the world. I worked in 8 different countries. I saw some really amazing places that I never would have seen otherwise, and a lot of those influences made it into my books.
What’s best about being a full-time author? Freedom. You’re the captain and crew of your own ship, and you can sail where ever you please. I imagine many people who own their own businesses feel the same way, but as Authors, we don’t keep a storefront, we don’t have hours we’re open, we don’t have clients we go visit. What we do, is entirely up to us. That is an amazing feeling.
You’ve written a story in the same genre as me which makes me feel like we’re kindred spirits (come here, buddy! *awkward hug*). What made you so badly want to write coming of age fantasy? What initially inspired Benjamin Ashwood?
Nothing better than meeting another author and doing the handshake, fist-bump, hug dance! Somehow, that always ends up with me gently punching people. I’m ready for the union to proscribe a standard greeting we can use when we emerge, pale faced and blinking, from the writing caves.
Oh, you asked a question…
I was inspired by the books I grew up reading. Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien, David Eddings, those guys. I love the way all of their stories start, and that’s how I started my tale. A young boy leaves his small village on an adventure. It really spoke to a younger me, and it still does today. It’s the sense that you don’t know what will happen next, but anything is possible. It’s one of the times a fantasy trope connects really solidly with my real life experience. Sometimes, I feel like I hewed too close to those books in the beginning of Benjamin Ashwood, but it’s intended as an homage to the stories I love. As you read deeper in my series, the themes and plots diverge wildly from the books I grew up with. I started on the shoulders of those giants, but the core of the story takes the expectation from those tales and turns it on its head. In real life, I don’t think heroes are Chosen Ones, and I wanted to write a story about that.
What challenges you these days?
In addition to writing my Benjamin Ashwood series, I’ve started a small press called Cobble Publishing. I have 3 other authors under my banner and we’re in production with several of their books! Juggling that along with my own work is a logistical nightmare, but it’s the kind of challenge I really enjoy. At heart, I’m still the business guy I was before I began writing, and I love that part of publishing.
In the creative space, one thing that is tough for me is keeping it fresh. I’m writing my 5th Benjamin Ashwood book, and like the others, there are fights, magic, and all of that great stuff. How is a fight in Book 5 different and more exciting than one in Book 1? That’s the challenge. I want to keep raising the bar for myself and delivering ever more exciting scenes to my readers. It has really pushed me to innovate and expand my writing. I mean, how many ways can you hit a guy with a sword? We’ll find out…
What’s coming up next for you that you’re excited about?
You ready for this? I just released a Boxset for my first 3 Benjamin Ashwood books. On April 17th, I have a debut YA Fantasy from one of my authors, Tanya Schofield, titled “Awaken: Melody’s Song Book 1”. On May 8th, another author, Thomas Webb, has a Steampunk Alternate history called “Stalemate: Clockwerk Thriller Book 1”. I’ll sneak a small collection of Benjamin Ashwood short stories out there sometime in May as well, then on June 5th, “Burning Tower: Benjamin Ashwood Book 5” hits the shelves! Oh, did I mention that there’s a German language version of Benjamin Ashwood Book 1 in the works, hopefully arriving in June? July, we’ll release a currently untitled epic fantasy from author Mark E Lacy. That covers the next 4 months…
Whew. I told you there were some logistics involved!
Finally, I’m doing some early groundwork for a brand new series that I hope to unveil in late 2019. The amount of world building and character development I’m doing is far more than I’ve done before, but if this works, it will really pay off for readers (um, I hope).
That’s a lot on your plate, are you not worried it will take away from your writing energy?
I’ve found that having something else going on really helps keep the creative juices flowing. This began as a hobby for me, a way to relax from the stress of the job, new kids, etc. Writing is my down time, and it relaxes me. When I’ve tried to ramp up and go full bore, I burn out pretty quickly. Very rarely have I been able to sit down and write for a full day. When I have managed it, I needed several days off to recover. So, maybe because it’s how I got my start, I tend to write in bursts of 2-3 hours then switch gears and focus on something else. The great thing about starting a small press is that “something else” keeps me engaged in the industry. I love books, being around books, writers, and every aspect of this process. It’s all fun to me, and it keeps me busy while those creative juices recharge.
You and I are extremely lucky to do what we do full-time. I occasionally dole out advice to budding writers who dream of becoming full-time authors. What advice would you give to those who wish to make this a full-time living?
I completely agree – we are extremely lucky. I tell people that being a writer is exactly as awesome as you imagine it to be. Being an Author (caps) is an easier job for me than Every Other Job I’ve Ever Had. It pays better, too. Seriously. There cannot be a better job than this! But, as Cypress Hill once said, “It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job.”
Yes, you get to do all of the awesome creative stuff. And yes, you are your own boss. It’s completely true, you can work anywhere in the world, at any time. Literally everyone you meet will be jealous. You make up stuff and write it down for a living! But, you also have to do the icky parts of the job. This is your business – you should treat it like a business. You have to market, you have to do book keeping, you have to negotiate, you have to invest in your product, and you have to hold yourself accountable for getting it done! More so than anything else, like a business, you have to serve your customer. Everyone telling you to “write only for yourself” is, in my mind, doing you a huge disservice. It’s not to say you can’t write what you love – see earlier about my influences – but if you want to sell what you’ve written, someone has to want to read it. At the end of the day, the job of the writer is pleasing the reader, not themselves.
They’ve made you walk the plank. What was your crime, and any parting final words for humanity?
Ha, I love this question! Because it’s easy for me to answer… I’ve been in the rum barrel.
In fact, the rum barrel is now more like – just a barrel. So, the rest of you scurvy scallywags are going to be high and dry for the rest of this Caribbean cruise. Up until this exact moment, my trip was quite pleasant. Now, let me raise my tankard with the last of the grog, and share a little wisdom with you:
“In life, with few exceptions, you only achieve what you strive to accomplish. No one wins the lottery without buying a ticket. No one becomes a rock star without putting in countless hours of practice. No one writes a book without pounding out the words. Life isn’t always fair. When you try your best, you still may not reach your goal. But I’m willing to bet everything I have – you’ll never get there until you do try. Study, effort, work – those are your lottery tickets. Being a full-time author (and rum thief), it feels like I hit the lottery. The truth is, I put in the work. I earned it. I DID IT. Whatever your dream, DO IT. Start. That is the only way you can get there.”
Now, I’ll turn up the grog, scream to the heavens, “I regret nothing!”, slip, bang my head on the plank, and fall limply into the water where I’m brutally consumed by vicious sharks and mutant sea turtles. Let’s be honest, there are worse ways to go…
Thank you, AC Cobble — and my readers have brought you up a few times, so it’s been a real pleasure getting to know you both here and behind the scenes :)
AC Cobble is the Amazon bestselling fantasy action & adventure author of the Benjamin Ashwood series.
Burden’s Edge (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book 1)
When a young man chooses a forbidden calling, he must prove his worth … or watch his kingdom fall.
Sixteen-year-old Augum Stone is a warlock prodigy suffocating under the weight of expectations. Students idolize him. Nobles plot to exploit him. Commoners think he’s a miracle-maker. And with invasion looming, his already war-weakened kingdom expects him to be its champion.
But Augum doesn’t want to be a pawn in someone else’s game. He’ll forge his own path: that of the Arcaner—not a warlock or a knight, but a lethal combination of both. Legend says Arcaners once had the power to summon dragons. If true, it could change everything.
Resurrecting the Arcaner path comes with consequences, however. Scandal. Malice. Treachery. And a harrowing test of character.
He must survive.
He must prove he’s worthy of an ancient path.
And he must save the kingdom . . . before it’s too late.
* * *
Burden’s Edge (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book 1)
Honor’s price (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book 2)
Champion’s Wrath (Fury of a Rising Dragon, book 3)
* * *
Are you as excited as I am? At long last, the first installment in the trio’s next grand adventure is nearly upon us. We only have a few weeks to go. The book is 145,000 words long, which is one and a half times longer than Arcane. Expect it to launch December 1st.
“Oh, come on,” Leera said, holding up a stuffy dress with yellow ruffles. “Yellow? Yellow? I’ll look like a banana!”
Jez shrugged. “Just don’t slouch then.”
—Excerpt from Burden’s Edge, the follow-up first book in the coming series continuing the adventures of Augum, Bridget and Leera (First book due out in December).
Miss the trio? ;)
So I finished the first draft of book 1, Burden’s Edge, from the as-yet upcoming unnamed trilogy that follows our trio’s exploits after The Arinthian Line. It clocked in at around 156,000 words (for comparison, Arcane was 98,000 or so). I’m not going to spoil the plot as it might still change in editing, not to mention I have to write a blurb for it anyhow.
In the meantime, here’s what my floor looks like in preparation for book 2 (untitled). In the upper right-hand corner is a fresh batch of tea; in the lower-right the cat, Buddha. On the small table is a slew of index cards of active characters in Burden’s Edge. These aren’t all my notes; there’s still all those manila folders-worth of plot notes I have factor in. It’s a bit of a process, but it works for me. Anyway, if you were ever wondering what my plotting structure looks like, well, here you are:
Thank you for your patience; expect Burden’s Edge to come out late this year. And thank you so much for your amazing support of my work, and all of your beautiful letters. The Arinthian Line series has done well enough to allow me to do this full-time for nearly two years now. I only wish I was a faster writer, so that you would not have to wait as long. Though I suppose it could be worse (think of George RR Martin!).
This is what it looks like after an afternoon figuring everything out and putting all notes in the right place. This is how book 2 starts, essentially. (That open binder is full of old notes that have been archived). Note the pile of crumpled notes beside it. Having a glass of wine to celebrate finishing book 1. (Spoiler sheets have been left off photo).
Are you ready for Augum, Bridget and Leera’s grand finale? I hope so, because Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5) has officially released! Wow, I simply cannot believe I finally get to say that. I’ve been positively giddy with excitement in anticipation of this day.
The Arinthian Line spans almost a million words, has been years in the making, became an Amazon bestseller, and was the most challenging and rewarding undertaking of my life.
But this victory is not just mine—it is yours as well. You supported and encouraged me, and it meant a lot, more than you know.
“So where is it already?” I hear you asking. Legend can be found HERE on Amazon.
ADDITIONAL NEWS: Arcane (The Arinthian Line, book 1) will be on sale for only 99 cents until January 20th, so if you know anyone you think would enjoy the series, give them a heads up. :)
As to the paperback for Legend…
…it should be up any time now on Amazon (if it’s not, you can order the paperback direct from the printer HERE). Sometimes it takes a few days for it to show up on on Amazon, so hang in there. :)
The book is so big (it’s 243,000 words, 20% longer than Clash) that it barely squeaked by the max of 740 paperback pages in length!
The official Arinthian house cat wondering what all the fuss is about:
I cannot thank you enough for joining me on this epic journey. I’ll get to work on a new series as soon as possible (hints on that can be found in Legend). In the meantime, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and enjoy the book!
Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5)
Imagine a spell that can age you a lifetime in heartbeats, turn loved ones into enemies, and set demons upon your soul…and imagine having to use it to save the kingdom…
Battle-tested Augum, Bridget and Leera prepare for a final confrontation with the increasingly vicious Lord of the Legion. To face him, they must master a hopelessly complex spell they can only learn from their legendary mentor, Anna Atticus Stone. But with a kingdom hurtling toward annihilation, Anna Stone’s health failing, and relationships crumbling under the stress, the trio face the most painful decisions of their lives. For the slim chance of victory, they’ll risk everything on a daring plan—one that, whether it triumphs or fails, will exact a terrible price.
This is it! We are days away from the launch of Legend! It just returned from proofing and has now entered the formatting stage. And to further tickle your imagination, I included a brief excerpt from Chapter 1 below.
Yours in excitement,
A brief excerpt from Chapter 1:
Rather than a rabbit, it was death that had ensnared itself in one of Augum Stone’s traps.
“Well that’s certainly bigger than a raccoon,” Augum muttered, hands resting on the top of his bow. “Second one in a tenday.”
“Third,” Leera Jones corrected.
Right, one had fallen down a pit trap south of town. A hunter found it impaled and writhing on a spike. Walkers were turning up everywhere now, not just near their village. It was a worrying trend.
With cocked heads, the two of them stared at the creature that had begun wildly flailing the moment it had spotted them through the sparse evergreens.
“Looks freshly raised,” Augum noted. The skin hadn’t turned black yet and the clothes weren’t torn to strips.
Leera nodded slowly. “Doesn’t even look like it’s been buried.”
“Think it’s a man?” It was hard to tell. Faces changed after being raised. Some go sallow, some widen, some get a stretched waxy look. And that’s when they’re still fresh, like this one. With every passing day, the rot only hastened … as did the smell.
“It’s wearing a dress, Aug.”
“Could be a robe.”
“And the pink hair ribbon?”
He sighed, adjusting his stance on the spongy moss. “I must be tired.” Unnoticed details could get them killed. He had pushed himself in training that morning and probably should have stopped hunting earlier. Except people were starving from the famine and depended on them, for the villagers could not defend themselves against the walkers like the trio could.
He glanced into the sack at his side. Two rabbits and a possum. Not even enough to feed their own household.
Leera elbowed him. “I think she likes you.”
“Look. Her eyes are saying, ‘Augum, come close so I can munch on your sweet flesh’. I’m actually getting a little jealous.”
Augum stared into the walker’s blood-black eyes, eyes that were hungry and vicious. He gave Leera a skeptical look. “I think you need some sleep too.”
“What, you mean joking about a deadly live corpse isn’t normal?”
He said nothing as the creature furiously swiped at the air, its jaws clacking.
She gave an exasperated sigh that blew strands of hair away from her face. “It’s called gallows humor. You should be used to it by now.”
He was. “Looks about three days old.”
“How can you tell?”
He flicked his fingers idly. “Clothes are soggy from the rain. Lack of bloating. All the hair is there. No bones peeking. And she’s only lost a few teeth so far.”
“Maybe she lost those before she was raised.”
The gaunt walker bared its remaining teeth as it strained against the snare, never ceasing its vicious swipes. Yet the rope around its ankle held firm. Augum wasn’t worried. As fast as the walker was, if the rope snapped, he still had a couple heartbeats to obliterate it into smithereens—one heartbeat to focus the First Offensive, and another to smack his wrists together and cast the spell. Less if he was particularly sharp.
Since they began learning the legendary spell Annocronomus Tempusari—otherwise known as Cron—he measured everything in heartbeats. Not that he had successfully cast Cron yet. None of the trio had, not once in the entire four months since their return from the Antioc Classic warlock tournament. Four months of grueling, disheartening and harrowing training. All of them looked forward to seeing what it would be like to reverse time, even if it was for only a few heartbeats. But once success did come, each heartbeat lost in the confines of the spell would result in their bodies aging, and who knew what other side effects. Exactly how much they aged was the great question.
Hence, details were vital.
Leera ran a hand through unkempt raven hair that hung just past her chin. “Don’t waste an arrow.”
“But I’m good at wasting arrows.” Augum massaged his sore left elbow, its slightly crooked bend a permanent reminder of his narrow escape from the Antioc Classic warlock tournament. No healer had been able to repair it properly, but it was a small price to pay considering they now had the divining rod, an artifact that the Lord of the Legion had specially created to track down the scions. He had used that rod to chase Mrs. Stone around Sithesia … until Augum brazenly stole it at the tournament.
“Maybe if you could learn to move on instead of clinging to the past.” Leera nodded at the bow. “You don’t need that thing anyway. You never will again. You’re a warlock. Embrace it. Besides, Bridget’s an arcane archer now.”
Augum hooked the bow over one shoulder. True, his damaged elbow hardly affected anything else. He could continue to set snares, or if he felt the need for hunting, there was always Telekinesis. Perhaps he was being a little stubborn. And yes, Bridget was turning out to be quite the good shot with her summonable earthen bow.
“Besides, you can’t kill it with just an ordinary arrow.”
“I don’t know …”
She punched his shoulder. “Sarcastic jerk.”
He gave her a crooked smile. “Fair’s fair.”
She returned the smile. “Oh, fair’s fair?”
She sighed and leaned up against him, watching the walker struggle. “Could have been us.”
“Could have …”
I know everyone’s anxious to hear word on LEGEND. I’m only about two weeks behind schedule, so going to miss a Christmas launch, but it won’t be long now. Expect it early January. It’ll be worth the wait :) Sneak peek coming very soon!
In the mean, here’s a photo of some props I used for The Arinthian Line, the details of which I posted on Reddit in r/fantasy. Stop by and say hi ;)
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I’m super excited to report that the first draft of LEGEND (The Arinthian Line, book 5) has been completed this morning. It clocks in around 234,000 words (about 15% longer than CLASH).
The next stage is editing, followed by prep and launch. If all goes well, you should have the final installment in The Arinthian Line by Christmas.
It’s been an emotional ride with this book. Years of work came to a head, and somehow, it all resolved in a way that made me feel personally content as someone living in that world five days a week (could you imagine?). Yet in many ways I feel like one of the luckiest people alive; I get to adventure alongside Augum, Bridget and Leera for a living.
If you want to receive an email notice when LEGEND launches, simply click here. I don’t email often, as my subscribers can attest. I’ll still keep you posted though.
Email / msg me anytime, I love hearing from readers. All my best,
I’m very excited to announce the release of CLASH (The Arinthian Line, Book 4). It’s over 700 pages long in paperback, almost 100 pages larger than Riven. Happy to report that the Thursday soft launch got the book up the charts on Amazon, cracking the top 1000 (out of over 4 million books). As well, CLASH is currently #1 on the Hot New Release list in its genre. Felt good to take screenshots competing against Harry Potter and Golden Compass. The paperback will link to the Amazon store page within a couple days. Only one more to go in the series!
Warlocks Augum, Bridget and Leera are finally able to relax after a grueling ordeal in Bahbell. Now their fugitive mentor has a dangerous new quest–sneak into an ancient library and research an artifact that could devastate the Legion.
Their substitute mentor Leopold Harvus, however, is an obsessive and petty man with a distaste for anything untoward, particularly Augum and Leera’s affections for each other. As their studies suffer from his meddling, one brazen act of rebellion plunges the trio and their quest into mortal peril, for Harvus quickly proves he is not a man to be trifled with.
Books in The Arinthian Line series:
CLASH (The Arinthian Line, Book 4)
Warlocks Augum, Bridget and Leera are finally able to relax after a grueling ordeal in Bahbell. Their substitute mentor Leopold Harvus, however, isn’t at all like the legendary Anna Atticus Stone. He’s manipulative and petty with a distaste for anything
untoward—particularly Augum and Leera’s affections for each other.
As their studies suffer from his oppressive meddling, Anna Stone—on the run
from the Legion—tasks the trio with a dangerous new quest that could turn the
tide in the war. But when Harvus pushes Augum too far, a brazen act of
rebellion plunges everyone into mortal peril…
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