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by Stevie P
Mon 3 May, 2010 13:39:10
Forum: The Launching of Roger Brook
Topic: The Launching of Roger Brook - Stevie P's review
Replies: 4
Views: 16030

Ken, Thanks for your kind words. Steve W, You are quite right. The actual percentage equates to 1.269%. (Approx 1.3% not 13%). The figures are actually as I quoted in the book (See page 216 - Hutchinson hardback and Page 291 - Arrow paperback) I should have known better than to have trusted the figu...
by Stevie P
Fri 30 Apr, 2010 06:37:00
Forum: The Launching of Roger Brook
Topic: The Launching of Roger Brook - Stevie P's review
Replies: 4
Views: 16030

The Launching of Roger Brook - Stevie P's review

The Launching of Roger Brook

It was July 28th 1783. The scene, Sherborne School - Dorset. The sixteen year old Roger Brook was brawling with George Gunston following an effort to retrieve the Mortar board that George had taken from Rogers' head.
The fight was interrupted by the eighteen year old 'Droopy' Ned, The Lord Edward Fitz-Deverel; The younger son of the most noble Marques of Amesbury.
Rogers's opponent was to become General Sir George Gunston who fought on the field of Waterloo.
Rogers's saviour was Mr William Pitt's principal secret agent during the French revolution in the struggle against Napoleon.

Rogers's father is very keen for Roger to join him in a Navy career. Roger is equally adamant that he is not going to. After a ‘fearful’ row Roger decides to disappear from his Lymington home.
He decides to head for the village of Highcliffe some seven miles to the west of Lymington to talk things over with his neighbour, friend and confidante Georgina Thursby. In order to gain some privacy they climb the large150 foot, square and unadorned, tower that is situated behind Highcliffe Manor. There were over 300 stone stairs which had to be climbed to gain access to the little room at the top, which was only large enough to accommodate a brocaded settee, two chairs and a table. The view from the top was stunning with views to the southern tip of the Isle of Wight.
Georgina persuades Roger that his best plan is to seek his fortune in London. She gives him some trinkets that he could sell to give him a start when he arrives there.
He is a little concerned at leaving on his own when he is not yet sixteen years of age. “Soâ€￾ she teases, “You are not a man yet, just a timorous little boyâ€￾
He then show’s her in no uncertain terms that he is not. Her plan had worked.

Did this tower exist I ask myself. Is the tower still there? I haven’t been to this part of the country since I was approx ten years old, but if I am ever near the Serpentine wall built next to Grove house I will check it out.
(Could this be another Cardinals Folly type search???)

RB furtively heads back home to gather a few items. He meets up with the smuggler, "Dan Izzard" who agrees to take him on board (for a fee) as he is crossing the Cannel that night.

He arrives in Le Havre.

He meets many characters including;
The man in Red – Chevalier Etienne de Roubec – who absconds with the jewellery that Georgina had given him.
The man in Blue – Aristotle Fenelon – A roving doctor who sells his medicines and potions in the towns and villages of France. RB becomes his assistant.
The man in Grey – Josef Fouche – A lay preacher who interests himself in Police affairs and playing the part of a private investigator and informer.
Fouche tries to extort money from Fenelon and after a fight shoots Fenelon. RB escapes the fight and is hidden from Fouche by hiding in a carriage owned by Athenais de Rochambeau. She decides to protect him.
The man in Green – Maitre Leger is the Rochambeau's lawyer. He is drafted in so that he isn't implicated in the death of Fenelon.
RB is given employment by Maitre Leger and learns various aspects of law.
Subsequently a position becomes available at a wealthy family home and RB is given the job as secretary to The Marquis de Rochambeau. (The father of Athenais.) RB is delighted as he has become besotted with Athenais.

DW fills large sections of the book with the infamous information dumps on French/Dutch/Austrian politics which, to be honest hold even less interest than the info dumps on the English equivalents from previous books which at least hold some relevance to the English readers.
RB realises that a lot of this information may prove useful to the British government and so sends the details to the Admiralty via his father at Lymington. (His role as a spy is forming).
Some of the most interesting historical facts revolve around the growing unrest of the poor;
The French population at this time is 26 million of which there are 140,000 Noblesse and 190,000 Clergy. The Noblesse pay no tax at all whilst the Clergy pay a nominal sum 'en bloc'. This equates to 13% of the population (including the Crown) which contributes next to nothing. The peasants are heavily taxed and very limited in what they can and can't sell. It's no wonder that revolution is around the corner.

Athenais eventually declares her love for RB (as he does for her) but can never marry him as she will have to marry into nobility and as their religious views are totally opposed it could never happen as she is a Catholic and he is a Protestant and neither of them are prepared to risk their mortal souls!!

In the meantime the Marquis de Rochambeau has been organising various eligible (rich) bachelors as a potential husband for Athenais.
RB becomes very friendly with one of these men – Monsieur de la Tour D' Auvergne and if he has to forgo Athenais' hand in marriage he would prefer it to be him. However her father selects Le Comte de Caylus who being a top swordsman and very rich was also one of the most 'odious' men that he could have picked.
Monsieur de la Tour D'Auvergne offers him a dual. D'Auvergne loses and is injured but survives.
RB then offers De Caylus the same proposition. RB has become an accomplished swordsman himself and kills De Caylus.
When the Marquis finds out that his private secretary has killed his future son in law he is furious. He is doubly furious that he has also taken a highly important document giving details of a proposed French invasion of Holland which would heavily involve England.
Roger has to flee the country whilst Athenais and Monsieur de la Tour D'auvergne run off together to marry in Evreux.

RB eventually manages to get on board a boat heading for England anxious to get this valuable piece of paper to London. When he arrives home in Lymington he is attacked by an unknown assailant who steals the document. He explains to his father what has happened and he assists him to catch this unknown attacker.
They eventually manage to get to London and regain the document which is passed on to the Prime Minister, Mr Pitt.
The attacker turns out to be the man in Grey – Josef Fouche who had been trying to get his hands on the 500 Louis reward money for the recovery of the document.
RB surprisingly lets him off any charges (as he apologised???!!).
A decision that his friend Droopy Ned (and now the PM's assistant) said might come back to haunt him as he would, "strangle his own mother and crave her pardon while accomplishing the act from a fixed conviction that a soft answer ever turneth away wrath"
Droopy was right; In time we would see Joseph Fouche, his pale hands dripping with the blood he had shed during the terror, emerging from it as the dreaded Chief of the Secret police under the Consulate and became the most unscrupulous, hated and feared of all Napoleon's servants.
(The description sounds a little like Grauber)

Mr Pitt sends RB back to Europe to pass on his dispatches to the military leaders in The Hague. The early warning quickly brings the European situation to a speedy conclusion. Mr Pitt thanks RB for all that he has done and offers him a job working for the Government.


Joseph Taggart, in The Star (1948), said, “Roger Brook is a bigger and more realistic hero than the Scarlet Pimpernel. “
“Outstanding qualities of this superbly exciting story are realism, historical accuracy and the creation of a hero who, though drawn on the D’Artagnan scale, is yet a fellow no more incredible than his arch-enemy Fouche, or Billy Pitt himselfâ€￾

Snippets :

Rogers's mothers' maiden name is Lady Marie McElfic. She is an irreconcilable Jacobite.

Rogers Fathers name is Rear Admiral Christopher Brook.

Rogers little fingers were of exceptional length reaching almost to the nails of the third fingers.
DW was very interested in Palmistry and Cheirognomony – the science of reading character from the shape of the hands. (See – You and Your Hand – Cheiro. Library of the Occult - Volume 12)

RB was born on January 8th 1768
DW was born on January 8th 1897

Evreux is twinned with Rugby (My home town – just thought I'd mention it!!!)

In all my years of reading Dennis Wheatley books this was the first (and only) Roger Brook book that I had ever read.
I only read it then as it was the second book of the Heron Books collection which happened to pop through my letterbox. I was still on a 'high' having just read the first book in of the collection (The Devil Rides Out) in 1972.
I can remember enjoying The Launching of Roger Brook then, but having now read it for the second time cannot recall anything of the content other than the very beginning when Roger fights with Gunston. I enjoyed this second reading more than I thought I would as I had become so indoctrinated into Duke de Richleau, Gregory Sallust etc. I am now very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series - The Shadow of Tyburn Tree.
by Stevie P
Sun 28 Mar, 2010 15:09:33
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

I took my second trip to Hopton last Friday 26th March. I had made an appointment to meet the owner of The Woodhouse (approx a quarter of a mile away from Hopton Court) which had been recommended to me by the owner of Hopton Court. I have attached some photographs of the house which is in the proces...
by Stevie P
Sat 13 Mar, 2010 11:33:50
Forum: General Topics
Topic: A talk by Phil Baker
Replies: 6
Views: 4082

Hi Steve, Great review. I wish I could have been there with you, complete with artificial beard!!! One point I thought I ought to mention; Your text states; "Phil Baker mentioned that he has identified Medina Place, near Lord’s cricket ground, as the location of Simon Aaron’s St. John’s Wood h...
by Stevie P
Sat 12 Dec, 2009 10:30:21
Forum: Come Into My Parlour
Topic: Come into my Parlour
Replies: 0
Views: 16811

Come into my Parlour

Obergruppenfuhrer Heinrich Himmler was chairing the monthly meeting, attended by all the German Intelligence chiefs.
‘Gregory Sallust’ was item thirteen on the agenda.
Admiral Canaris was explaining that GS is still major threat to them, particularly with the introduction of the new ’K’ series of secret weapons that were being worked on. Himmler tells the meeting (specifically Grauber) to lure GS to Germany, â€￾Set a trap for him and kill him. Within three months, I require a certificate of Sallust’s death from youâ€￾.
Grauber decides to set up a trap for GS by making the Count von Osterberg (still officially her husband) write to Erika von Epp via the Swiss legation and dangle before her the prospect of a divorce if she is prepared to come over and meet him somewhere just inside the German border to discuss the legal aspects.
Meanwhile, Sir PGC was entertaining GS out on the balcony at his London mansion. "The interior had suffered due to the bombing. There was scarring on the external facade and the windows of the big library that opened onto the terrace had been shattered and now boarded over".
Even now GS felt that there were many worse places to live in than Carlton House terrace with its views over St. James Park.
Sir Pellinore had invited GS to London to ask him how he thought the war was proceeding. After giving his thoughts Sir PGC agrees with him and then tells GS that he wants him to go to Russia in order to find out three things:
1) What proportion of their man-power the Russians can actually put into the field.
2) How much territory they can afford to give away before they would be compelled to throw up the sponge.
3) The real state of Stalin’s Health.

Sir Pellinore also informs GS that he is to take Stefan Kuporovitch with him. He will be of great value as he speaks Russian. He will be given a British passport under the name of Stephen Cooper.

Erika, meanwhile has received a letter from her husband asking her to meet him in Switzerland. Erika changes her appearance and obtains a Swedish passport under the name of Astrid Largerlof thanks to Sir Pellinore. She stays at the pension Julich in St. Gall which is 15 miles from Steinach; a village towards the eastern end of Lake Constance where her husband now lives.
Fritz Einholtz is a member of the Gestapo (working for Grauber) but is posing as Kurt von Osterberg’s laboratory assistant. Kurt doesn’t really want to trick Erika but is under threat from the Gestapo. He is a scientist and his story is that he is working on a new poison gas for the Germans. He is prepared to sell the information relating to the gas, to Erika and give her a divorce in return for a sum of money having fallen on hard times. Fritz really wants to lure Erika across the lake to Germany so that she can be held as a hostage in order to get GS back into Germany.
Einholtz manages to entice her into Germany by getting her to agree to view the scientific analysis of the new gas which is being held at the Schloss Niederfels - the German family home of the von Osterberg's which Erika naturally knows very well.

They eventually arrive at the Castle having crossed the Bodensee (Lake Constance!!) When they enter the castle, Einholtz leaves for a few minutes to make a phone call (to the Gestapo); at this point the count tells her the truth about the whole thing being a trap. When Einholtz reappears he realises that the count has told her truth. Erika picks up a lighted candelabra and throws it at the Nazi. The candelabra bounces of his chest and sets fire to one of the large curtains covering the huge castle windows. She doesn't want to be interrogated by the Gestapo and so jumps on to the window seat and looks down to the starlit tree tops of the forest clad gorge.
(In most of DW's books there are certain scenes that are exceptionally well done and stay in the memory. i.e. The drive to the Sabbat - 'TDRO', The chase through the ruined church - 'Codeword Golden Fleece', (There are many more - a potentially new subject in itself!!) I think the following scene is also exceptionally good. It certainly fired my imagination)
Below her lay a seemingly unbroken sea of tree tops shelving steeply to the valley bottom, then rising again in the distance. The upper branches of the nearest trees were not far below her but about twelve feet away. Between them and the wall of the castle there yawned a dark fifty-foot gulf, at the bottom of which the great stones with which the wall was built merged into the rock of the mountain top. Moonlight silvered the whole scene, making it a vista of still, unearthly grandeur that a landscape painter would have travelled many miles to see; but for Erika it now held no beauty, only stark menace and the terror of a leap to death.
“Come down from thereâ€￾ Einholtz shouted. “If you jump you’ll break your neckâ€￾
Next second the nearest tree-top brushed her arm; another instant and pine needles pricked and stung her face. Then she was falling...falling...falling.

Erika, amazingly, survives the fall and her immediate thoughts are to get away from the castle. She then changes her mind and decides to break back into the castle via her mother-in-laws’ (Grafin Bertha) bedroom. The frau Grafin agrees to hide her after hearing the details of her betrayal at least until the immediate danger is over. Erika stays for eight days while her injuries heal. She then attempts to escape back to Switzerland via Lake Constance. As she is about to get into the boat she is met by Einholtz and Gruppenfuhrer Grauber. They need to find out more about GS and as she maintains that she knows nothing of his whereabouts they take her to his headquarters in Friedrichshafen were she is forced to watch a local prostitute being tortured with an *“ingenious German toyâ€￾ which applied electric currents to her internally. This item of torture was actually used at Gestapo headquarters in Paris during the war and one such instrument is/was in possession of the Surete. The threat is that if she doesn't talk the same will happen to her.
Grauber changes the plan and Erika is returned to Schloss Niederfels where the Nazi’s threaten to re-enact the same torture to the frau Grafin if she doesn’t tell them of GS’s activities in Russia. She has no option but to tell them of the three reasons for his visit.

GS and Stefan arrive in Moscow on Friday 12th September 1941. They decide that the only way to get the information they require is to meet the high ranking Russian officials, as the ‘lesser mortals’ will not be privy to the required information. They decide to contact Marshall Voroshilov and so they head to his office in Leningrad. When they arrive in Leningrad, SK writes a letter to the Marshall informing him that he and his colleague GS has information of real value to the defeat of the ‘Hitlerite bandits’.
The meeting takes place and goes very well. During the meeting drinks are offered and brought in on a tray. GS had the mild suspicion that the drinks may have been spiked and so switches his drink with the Marshall. This turned out to be a very useful move as a ’truth drug’ had been added to the two visitor’s drinks. As a result the Marshall told them every bit of information they wanted to know but not realising why it was so easy.
At the end of the meeting, one of Voroshilov’s officers (Colonel Gudarniev) comes into collect them but hearing that the Marshall had told his friends all they wanted to know, realises what has happened. The two men are locked up in the old Lubianka prison.
The Marshall, on reflection decided to spare them their lives but with the vast amount of secret information they had been given would have to be sent away to Siberia for imprisonment.
They were picked up at the Lubianka by a ‘Black Maria’ van. After 15 minutes the van came to an abrupt halt. They had been hijacked by Grauber and his men. They are taken to the Gulf of Finland where they are loaded onto a German submarine. GS & SK are put into separate cells on the lower deck of the Sub. Gregory has claustrophobia and is finding it very difficult to cope with the dark confined space of the cell. Before they are more than 10 miles out of the Gulf of Finland they are spotted first by a Soviet plane which drops two bombs nearby. Grauber panic's and decides to get out of the sub telling the Captain that he will be well rewarded for bring the two prisoners back to Germany.
Once Grauber leaves, the sub dives down again but is eventually bombarded by depth charges. Water is rising around the waists of the prisoners and they are fearing a watery grave. A sub lieutenant arrives to let the prisoners free and they join the crew in being lifted onto a soviet destroyer. After a few delays they manage to steal a lift in a van and then re-locate the Black Maria that they had been ambushed in and head back to the British embassy in Moscow.
They pass on their valuable information to Lord Beaverbrook who just happens to be in Moscow for a three-power conference on aid to Russia at the time.
To get back to England safely and in order to avoid unwanted scrutiny they take local trains and hitch-hike wherever possible. By these means, and using their priceless supply of soap for bribes, wherever necessary, having left Moscow on the 29th September, and averaging a little under a hundred miles a day they reached;
1) Astrakhan on the 11th October. Then a three day trip on a tramp steamer over the Caspian Sea to;
2) Bandar Shah, Persia. Then three days train travel brought them to;
3) Bandar Shapur at the head of the Persian Gulf. Then Northwest via Basra to Baghdad (Iraq); then various aircraft to take them via;
4) Damascus (Syria) and Jerusalem (Israel) down to Cairo (Egypt); Travel in the central Mediterranean had considerably worsened of late and so they then caught a plane heading for Cape Town (South Africa). Then they obtained berths on a KLM convoy which docked at Clyde (Scotland) on the 29th of November.

(A two month trip! The expense report must have been horrendous!!!)

When GS and SK meet up with Sir Pellinore again, Sir PGC tells them of Erika’s activities in trying to obtain the divorce from her husband and subsequent capture.
The next day GS and SK are flown to Switzerland. That evening GS presents himself at the Villa Offenbach, Steinach; Einholtz lets him in and after discussing various aspects of the war and Erika’s whereabouts GS is convinced that Einholtz is working with Grauber. GS shoots Einholtz and disposes of him in the lake. GS is sure that Erika is being held at the Schloss Niederfels and so takes the launch over to Germany to get her out. He manages to locate her in a cellar dungeon. The problem is that Grauber and his men are also in the castle. The escape and the fight with the Nazi’s continue onto the bank of the Lake. Erika is grabbed by Grauber but an exchange is made - Erika for the Count von Osterberg.
“Poor old von Osterbergâ€￾, Gregory murmured, looking at Erika, who was now sitting up beside him. I don’t think you’ll need that divorce after all, my sweet. I believe you’re a widow nowâ€￾.

When I started reading 'Come into my Parlour' I wasn't expecting this book to be as good as its predecessor 'Codeword - Golden Fleece' and perhaps it isn't. But, having read and reviewed it, I was very surprised with the quality of its content. I found it to be quite atmospheric and 'at times' surprising. (The torture scene; the cold blooded killing of Einholtz; chopping a hand off a dead body). DW was becoming more graphic and realistic in his writing.

DW Snippets

From Arrow paperback 1975

Page 16 - Admiral Canaris is telling Grauber of his meetings’ with his old friend Sir Pellinore Gwaine Cust. “He took seven thousand marks off me at Baccarat one night in 1924.....drank me under the table afterwards and then sent the money back next morning with a charming note to the effect that, seeing the poor state of Germany’s post war finances, he did not feel it fair to take such a sum off one of her secret agents at a single sitting.... I have often related the story as a lesson in good manners.â€￾
He continues; “Sir PGC won a particularly well deserved V.C. in the Boer War. I used to stay with him at his lovely old home, Gwaine Meads in Shropshire (Ed. Another Grail??) There have been Gwaine- Custs living there ever since the Romans gave up their attempts to subdue the more savage tribes of Britons on reaching the Welsh Border; and I doubt that the place is still maintained in almost feudal state, since he’s as rich as Croesusâ€￾.

Page 190 – “Ah, now I know where we areâ€￾ SK murmured to GS. This is the old Lubianka prison -

Page 295 – (Sir PGC states) “What could I do my boy? I felt it was all Lombard Street to a China Orange that we’d been had for mugs...â€￾
‘Lombard Street to a China orange' is an old-fashioned idiom meaning very heavily weighted odds; Lombard-street signifying wealth and a China orange poverty ...

Page 302 - Had they arranged matters themselves, or possessed Aladdin’s lamp, there was nothing more that they could have desired or asked of the all powerful ‘Jinni’.
I’ve not seen Genie spelt this way before (except occasionally as a girl’s name). A misprint??

Page 302 - Sir Pellinore had popped a dose of ‘Verona’ into GS’s last drink.

Page 313 - DW was not a big fan of any German at the time. “He (Einholtz) was not a particularly likeable man, but what German was, at bottom?â€￾

Page 319 - DW was not a particularly big fan of the Japanese either. “....the Japanese, a race of evilly disposed, lying, cheating, treacherous little yellow apes, having only a remote outward resemblance to human beings....â€￾

Page 379 - Grauber stared at Gregory in hatred and dismay. His hands trembled, and he seemed to sag. “You Machiavellian devil!’ he breathed. That’s one you don’t hear nowadays.
by Stevie P
Fri 4 Dec, 2009 16:51:03
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

I've attached a map reference for The Crown & Hopton Court. In the bottom left hand corner of the map is the wording 'Hopton Wafers' (This is the location of the Crown Public house car park). If you take a North Easterly line from here and cross the bank of trees on the right you will come to a big ...
by Stevie P
Fri 4 Dec, 2009 10:42:10
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

Well done Nick. These locations were your suggestions and it looks like we've come up trumps. I meant to add that driving out of Hopton towards Tenbury Wells gives superb views from the top of Clee Hills. I'd never been there before but it was really breathtaking. I will try to contact the Ludlow li...
by Stevie P
Thu 3 Dec, 2009 20:23:07
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

This has been a terrific day. Ann and myself set off this morning searching for the grail. Did we find it? Very possibly!! We were heading for The Crown at Hopton, Hopton Court and The Peacock at Boraston. However as we drove through Kidderminster, we stopped to look in on St. Ambrose's catholic chu...
by Stevie P
Wed 2 Dec, 2009 15:45:08
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

Tomorrow is the day!!!!!!! I'm off to visit 'The Peacock' at Tenbury Wells and the nearby 'Hopton Court' and 'Crown'. Ann (My other half)and myself are off in search of the Grail. After our last trip to Kidderminster, Ann is a little tentative about viewing the second 'Peacock'. My son declined the ...
by Stevie P
Wed 25 Nov, 2009 07:54:29
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

Thanks very much for the feedback on this subject. I will dust off the lance and get my trusty steed ready for another lunge at the windmills. I've already spoken to the 'boss' regarding a trip to Hopton court and the 'Other Peacock' that Nick outlined at the beginning of this topic. So, in the not ...
by Stevie P
Sat 21 Nov, 2009 10:08:39
Forum: Off-Topic
Topic: Nick Dow on TV this Monday
Replies: 10
Views: 9483

Just for info. Nicks programme can be viewed on ... 6_11_2009/

by Stevie P
Tue 17 Nov, 2009 13:16:17
Forum: General Topics
Topic: How about this for Cardinals Folly?
Replies: 34
Views: 27265

Alan, You are quite possibly/probably right. I could argue all the reasons why CF and The PoP were named after a real places but at the end of the discussion we still won't know. Nicks recent suggestion for the location's sound good but if it turns out to be a dead end do we extend it to Hereford, W...
by Stevie P
Mon 16 Nov, 2009 21:02:16
Forum: General Topics
Topic: Convention 2010
Replies: 33
Views: 19868

Charles, I am generally OK with anytime of the year but we generally tend to go on hols at the beginning of September. Just something to keep in mind. Elstree is fine with me if everyone else is happy with that. I'd love to do the Salisbury Plain Car chase but I can understand that its not as conven...
by Stevie P
Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:54:24
Forum: Off-Topic
Topic: Nick Dow on TV this Monday
Replies: 10
Views: 9483

Me too. I don't have sky. If we can't see it on BBC i player after the event, I suppose a DVD copy if thats possible?

Stevie P
by Stevie P
Sun 15 Nov, 2009 18:58:28
Forum: V for Vengeance
Topic: V for Vengeance
Replies: 5
Views: 27075

Good points Ken.

I'm just getting close to finishing 'Come into my Parlour'. I'll have to make sure that my review is accurate!!!!

Hope you both got home safe and sound after your long trip from Elstree.

Stevie P

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