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Main > GMF--unfinished Flashman novel?

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message 1: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments Rumors, rumors, rumors. Flashman movie in 2013? Apparently not. Now I've heard that GMF left some notes and a partial outline of the long promised Flashman in the American Civil War and that his estate is considering turning them over to another writer to use as a crib for another "official" Flashman novel. Anybody else hear anything about this?


message 2: by Adrian (magicrat) (last edited May 19, 2012 02:46PM) (new)

Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments Because GMF mentions a few Flashman adventures (Civil War, Australia, Mexico, etc) in other novels there has always been rumours that these notes exist.

After he died it came to the fore again and there was talk that his daughter (an author in her own right) would complete them.

I read a press release from his publishers denying that any unfinished works exist although after a quick google I can't seem to find it.

Sadly I believe theres no truth in the rumour :(


message 3: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments What I heard is that Vivian Schuster (who was GMF's agent) had inquired of Harper-Collins (GMF's publisher) if they would be interested in such a project. That's all I know. Unfortunately, I agree with you that there's probably nothing to it. I doubt that they would have his daughter write it in any case. Her writing style is totally different from his. (Who I think COULD do it, and who I'd love to see give it a try is Keith Thompson, author of Scoundrel!, the closest thing to Flashman I've come across. He's a huge Flashman fan, and his writing and humor is very much in the same style as GMF's. True, he's an American, but for a book about the American Civil War that might be a plus as much as a minus. Hmm. Wonder if Harper-Collins would be interested? Maybe we could start a draft movement.)


Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments I agree with you with regards to his daughter writing Flashman. I don't think it would suit. I believe it was more out of respect for the legacy.

Keith Thompson would be a good shout for writing sequels. I haven't read Scoundrel! yet (I'll have to get on that :) but from all reports its very like Flashman.
My other suggestion would be Bernard Cornwell of Sharpe fame (I'm reading them all at the moment for my historical fiction fix :). Hes also a huge GMF fan. Not really realistic option though. Not exactly the same style and hes obviously got his own characters to expand.

We'd all love another Flashman story. If there was enough interest i'm sure the publishers would look at it.

I don't know how protective the Fraser family are over Flashman but I suspect they would be. I'd like to think they would have a hand in any new novels akin to the Tolkien Estate.


message 5: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments Cornwell would be great, but I agree, he probably wouldn't be interested in doing it. Just for fun: anyone have any other suggestions who they'd like to see try their hand at Flashman?


message 6: by Millsey (new)

Millsey | 4 comments Well this is altogether splendid - a Flashman Forum and what fine minds lurk within - oh, joy! Well, I suppose I'd better do the gentlemanly thing and introduce myself. I'm Millsey, I've been a Flashman fan for perhaps 10 years or so when I discovered them upon recommendation and I can honestly say that these books have changed my life. I cannot go for longer than a week without reading one and it doesn't matter how many times I've read them either. But although I could wax lyrical about The Brigadier General and his adventures (and I will at some point, devil a doubt) if I may be permitted to add to this discussion, I fear I must proffer the sad confirmation that GMF did not leave behind his notes for the old soldier's unpublished exploits. We will never know about his mission for Lincoln, how he served on both sides of the US Civil War, Hickock, Mexico, his dealings with Chico Valasquez, how he managed to get from Maryland to Hong Kong (and become so familiar with the Chinese Language and customs) in the space of six months, what happened in Khartoum with Charlie Gordon, his involvement in the Boxer Rebellion, precisely when he was actually knighted, how he managed to become fluent in Persian, Lily Langtree, what happened after he was Shanghaid by Mrs Carpenter, or answers to any of the countless questions that we all probably have.

I have this from an unimpeachable source: his novelist daughter Caro Fraser. I emailed her a few years ago asking this very question and she graciously confirmed that he had not left behind anything of the sort. She had looked. There were no unpublished notes, no unfinished Flashman Papers. She loved the books as much as anyone and if anyone on earth would know, it would be her.

Damn shame :-(

However, I have often wondered (although I didn't put the question to her - perhaps I should have) whether Caro would be tempted to write Elspeth's Diaries. GMF invented some comically shallow entries for Flashman's Lady of course, but in my opinion she is a fascinating and enchanting character worthy of expansion. After all, Caro's father took an existing notorious fictional character and gave him a whole new life. If would be fitting and satisfying for her to do the same, I think.

As for the Flashman film, I must confess misgivings, for I fear that they'll end up doing something that'll make GMF turn in his grave. A company called Celtic Films ( I think that was the name anyway) was going to make a TV movie of "Flashman At The Charge" with GMF's involvement a few years ago but it seemingly got shelved shortly after his health started to fail. Whether the same team is involved with this new Fassbender-Flashy, we can only speculate. I can see Fassbender working very well indeed as Flashy, but I suspect it would be spoiled by a script that panders to political correctness and tones down the brutality, mysogeny and racism, or what's worse - they change the bloody stories. *shudder*

Personally, I wouldn't mind Rik Mayall playing Flashy. He did Flashheart so well in Blackadder, and his Bombardier in the current beer adverts is the old dog personified. Too damn old for a young Flashy now though.

What about the rest of the cast though? Who'd play Elspeth? Kiera Knightly could probably pull it off, while I can see Maggie Smith as Lady Sale, Billy Connolly as John Morrison, and later in the series, perhaps Warren Clarke as John Charity Spring.


message 7: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments Welcome Millsey! You're obviously a great fan (though a damned depressing one--you could have lied & told us a book was in the works, y'know). Still, even if Fraser didn't leave any notes behind, there are certainly enough "notes" contained within the actual novels to furnish another author with an outline. After all, look at how many James Bond books have been written since Ian Fleming's death (not that any of them are any good). So we can still hope.

As for a movie, if it's done for tv I'm sure you're correct and it would be dreck. But an actual motion picture might try to exploit the reaction against political correctness among people like you and me. I think they're more likely to screw it up by making it a comedy (as they did with Royal Flash). The humor has to come out of Flashy's character--not from jokes and pratfalls. If what you are doing is funny, you don't have to be funny doing it.

Anyway, glad for your input Millsey. Hope to hear more in the future.


Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments Welcome Millsey. Always great to have another Flashman fan in the group.

Thanks for the info regarding the unfinished works and Caro.
Real shame but I think that it is more out of hope that we cling on to the possibility of a great lost Flashman :)
I really like the idea of Elspeths diaries. The excerpts that we get in Lady give us a taste and i've always been of the opinion that shes more cunning than Flashman gave her credit for.
It would be great if we could find out what shes been doing/thinking while Flashy is off on adventures. Would also give an opinion of the feel in Britain at the time of these escapades.
Mr. American gave a nice view of public opinion in the lead up to the Great War.

I remember the talk about Celtic Films. I believe there was even a listing on their website.
I've always thought that it would work best on tv in the same way as Sharpe.
As you say as long as justice is done to the script it could be great otherwise it would be just awful.

I remember watching a documentary on Blackadder where Ben Elton or the other writer which I cant remember at the moment (Curtis??) admitted that Flashheart was based on Flashy (hence the name). They removed his cowardice since Blackadder had enough for everyone but kept the cad :)

I always pictured Elspeth on the larger side :)
So Kiera doesnt fit my image of her. Possibly Kate Winslet?? Although also maybe too old now to play the teenage Elspeth.

Billy Connolly is a great shout for John Morrison. Thats exactly who I was thinking while reading.


message 9: by Millsey (new)

Millsey | 4 comments Why, thank you gentlemen. I'm writing this on of those new-fangled telephone contraptions so a more detailed reply will follow when one's Mrs gets off Facebook for long enough for one to sit down in front of a proper keyboard... whether it happens today though depends on whether I start punishing the brandy.


message 10: by Millsey (last edited May 21, 2012 01:41PM) (new)

Millsey | 4 comments Back again.

Yes, sorry for bringing a downer on things Fred! Mind you, GMF did confirm in 2006 that he was planning another Flashman, adding that it would be one of three subjects and he hadn't yet decided which. I can't imagine him making such an announcement unless it was something that he'd laid the groundwork for, can you? It's a delicious fantasy to imagine that while working on the script for 'Charge' (which would probably only have been completed when the project got a proper green light and budget) and realising that he was on an uncertain schedule with his health, he wrote one more that fills in all (or most) of the blanks, leaving it in safekeeping with someone until the time is right. That'd really be rather lovely, but I fear the sad truth is very likely to be as Caro said. Still, we can only hope. She may well have been giving me the 'standard' response.

I'm actually all for someone else finishing Flashy's legacy, but it's going to be a bloody tough call. You're right that when other authors try it, the Bond series being a perfect example, by and large it's a disappointment despite the skill of the writer. Look at that abominable 'missing years' Godfather sequel that was written with the full support of the Mario Puzo estate for starters. It would be far too easy to bollocks it up and I think the only way it could be done is if the family give the writer access not only to GMF's library, but all his original notes. There may not be notes for the unpublished Flashy volume, but it seems inconceivable that there aren't for the published ones. Not all of the notes would have made it into the books, surely? But perhaps I'm back in the realms of fantasy again. *sigh*

Adrian, after consideration I think you might be right about KK playing Elspeth. Not about the size thing, as Elspeth only added to her elegant poundage in her autumn years, but even she's too old now. Thing is, I've now been racking my brains trying to think of someone who could fit the bill. After all, she should be a young beautiful blue-eyed big-titted blond who can actually act, and they're rather thin on the ground at the moment. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Had some other thoughts though. How about Patrick Stewart as Cardigan? I can just imagine him exercising his Jonathan Woss impwession as the scrawny old goat, and if he lasts long enough to make 'Charge' we'll get to see Captain Picard with his cherrypicker pants down in that scene with Elspeth. But I suppose that's just my perverse sense of humour.

Richard Briers as Elphinstone? Art Malik as Gul Shah? Geoffrey Palmer as Wellington?


message 11: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments I know this club is not given to serious comment but I also know our great man was exercised by the comments his work received from the pc rubbish. I always get a little annoyed when word like ‘racism’ with all its modern connotations is applied to our hero a demi-aristocrat writing in his own time; a time when such words had not be developed and manipulated to the degree they have now. If Sir Harry is to be judged it must be by the universally accepted standards of his own era. Flashman would have been horrified to if he had learned that children had been arrested in the playground for calling each other names but this has happened in our time. GMF as an ex-soldier of WW2 would have been more concerned about this than calling someone a name however objectionable the ‘name’ might be to some. Orwell definitely had foresight.


message 12: by Millsey (new)

Millsey | 4 comments Good point Rodney. Don't get me wrong, when I apply terms like racism and mysogeny to Flashy it isn't a condemnation. He's a voice of his time and all the better for it. The old scoundrel's opinions are merely uncomfortable for the pc brigade and are a defining part of him so to have a flashy that tones it down to pander to them seems ludicrous. But sadly we live in more sensitive times and film budgets depend on investment so its going to be easier to attract investment without racial controversy following the project about like a fly round a camel's arse. Crikey mate, its going to be hard enough for the public - particularly the Yanks - to stomach a film where the great power of the west gets bashed to buggery and beyond in Afghanistan so a compromise is likely if they're going to have the hero being a cowardly rapist and getting away with it as well.


message 13: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments Love it!


message 14: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments I wrote to his agent a year after his death. She confirmed that there was no civil war Flashman. He said himself that it wasn't a subject that interested him. I penned the first 3 chapters and asked if they would be interested . I received an unequivocal no - cc'd to GMF's family ! I finished it anyway and sent to the publishers to pique their interest. They didn't reply but passed it onto his agent, as I later found out, so they must have been interested. It lies unpublished, as do the first 4 chapters of part 2. I've been able to include all the hints in the other books. If anyone would like to read a sample chapter just let me know on here. It covers from first Manassas to just after Gettysburg.


message 15: by Adrian (magicrat) (last edited Oct 21, 2012 03:40PM) (new)

Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments Hi Djb

I'd love to read your take on our hero.

Let me know how you want to get it to me.

Shame that it remains unpublished. Theres a huge Flashman following that would love to see it.

You thought about self-publishing? At least ebooks? Amazon, etc. make it fairly easy these days.


message 16: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments You've certainly piqued my interest. I would love to have a peek. You are either very brave, very talented or just nuts to try to follow in the shoes of the great man himself.


message 17: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Adrian, Rodney

Be happy for you to see the first two chapters. Probably best if I could email them to you ? Re self publishing I can't do that - or anything else - without GMF's estate's permission, because I've included refere3nces to his previous adventures and characters. At present they won't countenance it, though as I said, the publishers seemed interested. There's been one self published effort but it doesn't reference anything GMF wrote - can't see how it would fit in, at all, with the rest of the books.


Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments Ahh thats a shame. I was thinking of other stories that had Flashman type characters but of course didn't reference other works.

As Rodney says you are brave. I wouldn't know where to start.

I'm not sure if you can mail through here - I get everything forwarded to my mail account but if it's attachments it might not work.

If not i'll PM you my email address.

Much appreciated.


message 19: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Adrian - not sure where I pick up PM's on here but if you leave it I'll find it and send you the first two chapters.


Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments Hey - top right - the wee envelope.

Just sent you one.


message 21: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Adrian (magicrat) wrote: "Hey - top right - the wee envelope.

Just sent you one."


On it's way.....


message 22: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Rodney wrote: "You've certainly piqued my interest. I would love to have a peek. You are either very brave, very talented or just nuts to try to follow in the shoes of the great man himself."

Oops,just saw your reply - apologies for not picking upon it earlier. PM me your email and I'll send you the first two chapters.


message 23: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments rodneyolley203@btinternet.com


Adrian (magicrat) (magicrat) | 35 comments Djb's take on Flashy is just fantastic. I truly believed it was GMF.

A big "please" to publishers and family to allow this to get published!!

I need to know how it ends!!! :)


message 25: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Adrian (magicrat) wrote: "Djb's take on Flashy is just fantastic. I truly believed it was GMF.

A big "please" to publishers and family to allow this to get published!!

I need to know how it ends!!! :)"


Ah, it's just part 1 of 2 !


message 26: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments If anyone else wants to see the first two chapters please let me know. Ade has been very kind in his remarks so I think it will be worth your time to have a look.


message 27: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments The first page had me worried that there was too much Flashman but once it got going I quickly became engaged and thoroughly enjoyed it. It seems to me it has all the GMF ingredients being interestingly written in the style of its time, well researched and with a story line that has the reader keen to know what is to come. I assume that in the book some of the excellent historical information will be consigned to the endnotes for which together - with other supplementals - GMF made a good read in their own right. I don’t believe that any author will catch that aroma of Fraser that permeates all his works - it is a unique indefinable - but this is about as good as it is ever likely to get. I like it a lot.


message 28: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments Djb wrote: "If anyone else wants to see the first two chapters please let me know. Ade has been very kind in his remarks so I think it will be worth your time to have a look."

If Adrian & Rodney both like it, it must certainly be a worthy effort. There are some other self-published Flashman books out there, but they are pale imitations at best. The best GMF-inspired book I've come across so far is Keith Thompson's Scoundrel! He writes almost as well as GMF, but it has nothing to do with Flashman. I'd love to see our hero resurrected. Would you be kind enough to let me have a look as well? My email is roozeveltt@gmail.com Thank you.


message 29: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Rodney wrote: "The first page had me worried that there was too much Flashman but once it got going I quickly became engaged and thoroughly enjoyed it. It seems to me it has all the GMF ingredients being interes..."

Djb wrote: "If anyone else wants to see the first two chapters please let me know. Ade has been very kind in his remarks so I think it will be worth your time to have a look."



Rodney - thanks very much - glad you enjoyed it.


message 30: by Djb (last edited Oct 30, 2012 07:19AM) (new)

Djb | 229 comments Fred wrote: "Djb wrote: "If anyone else wants to see the first two chapters please let me know. Ade has been very kind in his remarks so I think it will be worth your time to have a look."

If Adrian & Rodney b..."


Fred - I'll send the first two chapters to you sometime today.Thanks for your interest.


message 31: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Fred wrote: "Djb wrote: "If anyone else wants to see the first two chapters please let me know. Ade has been very kind in his remarks so I think it will be worth your time to have a look."

If Adrian & Rodney b..."


Fred - on it's way.


message 32: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments I’ll be honest. When I read Adrian’s raves about some amateur fan’s attempt to resurrect our hero, I thought Djb was either a friend of his or that he was simply being nice (my apologies, sir). But no. Djb’s book (or the first 2 chapters at any rate) is so good that if I was told it was a recently discovered early draft written by GMF I’d have believed it. This is SO much better than any of the amateur Flashman books that are out there, and after reading the first 2 chapters Djb sent me I wanted more, more, MORE. If the rest of the book is as good as the sample I read, it would make a worthy addition to the real series. A damned shame the publishers won’t allow it.

So what CAN be done with this? I was thinking Djb might do what Keith Thompson did with Scoundrel and come up with his own hero “in the Flashman-tradition”, but as much as I liked Thompson’s book it’s still not Flashman. (I mean, I really like the Bourne movies but they’re still not James Bond.) The trouble is, Djb has done such a great job of mimicking GMF’s writing style and Flashy’s attitude that it couldn’t really be adapted to some other character. This is, pure and simple, a Flashman novel. And while that’s great for all of us Flashman devotees, it’s not so great for Djb who has done a fantastic job but apparently can’t do anything with it. (Question: others have self-published Flashman books. How did they get away with it?)


message 33: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Fred wrote: "I’ll be honest. When I read Adrian’s raves about some amateur fan’s attempt to resurrect our hero, I thought Djb was either a friend of his or that he was simply being nice (my apologies, sir). B..."

Fred - you're very kind and your comments are much appreciated. I've written the first 20% or so of Part 2, post Gettysburg. I'm going to submit that hoping that it will encourage the publishers, with another book in the offing, to see if GMF's estate will relent.
A chapter I sent to the publishers last year was passed on to his agent, so I think they have some interest in it.


message 34: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments If anyone else wants to see the first two chapters please let me know.


message 35: by Chris (new)

Chris | 2 comments Hello folks, i'm new to this website and indeed this group. I am very interested by everyone's knowledge regarding the new/unfinished Flash. Djb, i would love to have a read of your 2 chapters if that would be possible? Myself and a friend have just been researching and gearing ourselves up to attempt to write Flashman and the Us Civil War and to read your news is crushingly dissapointing. However, i'd love to have a look at your effort if that would be agreeable to you? Millsey, you are also a fountain of knowlege on the subject. I'd quite like to pick your brains if i may? I may commiserate this news by getting beastly drunk!


message 36: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Chris wrote: "Hello folks, i'm new to this website and indeed this group. I am very interested by everyone's knowledge regarding the new/unfinished Flash. Djb, i would love to have a read of your 2 chapters if t..."

Chris - I'll send it this evening if you give me your email address.


message 37: by Chris (new)

Chris | 2 comments Djb wrote: "Chris wrote: "Hello folks, i'm new to this website and indeed this group. I am very interested by everyone's knowledge regarding the new/unfinished Flash. Djb, i would love to have a read of your 2..."

I've no idea how to send it as a PM on here so i'm going to trust the forum and hope i'm not innundated with spam! It's chris.radcliffe1983@gmail.com. Thank you so very much Djb, i can't wait to have a look at them. I shall let you know my opinions asap. Cheers


message 38: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Chris wrote: "Djb wrote: "Chris wrote: "Hello folks, i'm new to this website and indeed this group. I am very interested by everyone's knowledge regarding the new/unfinished Flash. Djb, i would love to have a re..."

I wouldn't worry about your email address. First 3 chapters on their way to you now.


message 39: by Fred (new)

Fred Ross (AmRevboy) | 18 comments Thanks to Djb for sending me Chapter 3. Your knowledge of the conditions in the South in 1861 is impressive. Are you a historian? (BTW: not that it matters, but I'm guessing Jeb Stuart's whereabouts in 1861 are pretty well documented. Could he have been with Flashy at this time? Just curious).


message 40: by Djb (last edited Nov 14, 2012 02:09AM) (new)

Djb | 229 comments Fred wrote: "Thanks to Djb for sending me Chapter 3. Your knowledge of the conditions in the South in 1861 is impressive. Are you a historian? (BTW: not that it matters, but I'm guessing Jeb Stuart's whereab..."

Fred - not a historian but the internet is a very good source of information. I only wish I could afford the time and money to do research on site !
Jeb Stuart's whereabouts are, as you say, well known. He was promoted at that time effective from the date I mentioned. Because of his new duties I had to remove him from the story at that point as it wouldn't have fitted the known historical facts.


message 41: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments Can I have the next chapter please.


message 42: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Rodney wrote: "Can I have the next chapter please."

I'll send it tonight. Sorry I didn't send it before.


message 43: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Chris wrote: "Hello folks, i'm new to this website and indeed this group. I am very interested by everyone's knowledge regarding the new/unfinished Flash. Djb, i would love to have a read of your 2 chapters if t..."

be interested in your thoughts...


message 44: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments Loved it keep going!


message 45: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Rodney wrote: "Loved it keep going!"
pleased you liked it. I finished it some time ago. I won't be releasing any more chapters, which amongst other things find him at Shiloh, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and, of course Gettysburg, as well as a number of other situations not battle related, though. In vol 2, which is about 20% completed I have managed to have him fix the lightning conductor at the Southern White House, meeting 'ol' Jeff Davis', who he didn't take to at all, as GMF suggested in one of his books.


message 46: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Olley | 17 comments I can’t say I blame you for calling a halt. You have wetted everyone’s appetite enough for us to be anxious to see the work published so we can continue the saga.


message 47: by James (new)

James | 2 comments I've been reading through all of your comments and there was ups and downs. Knowing there was no additional notes available sounds like a downer but he may have been one of those writers where it was all in his head. Not everyone is like Tolkein where you get a a book a year after his death!
Could anyone with Djb's work send it to me because I would be really interested to read his take on Flashy.


message 48: by James (new)

James | 2 comments My email is jcc23@live.co.uk


message 49: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments James wrote: "My email is jcc23@live.co.uk"

getting invalid mail address when I try to send it .....


message 50: by Djb (new)

Djb | 229 comments Pardon me if I quote from Chris who has read the first three chapters:-

Des hello, sorry about the delayed reply. I've got to say I'm thoroughly impressed. You've got flashys narrative style down pat, no gammon:) I can only think that GMF himself would be impressed and a bit pleased that a dedicated fan has taken up the mantle. Did you say you had pursued the publishing route? A friend and I were gearing up to write this very same novel and I can't imagine we would have even come close to the style and easy flowing story as you have. How much would I have to beg/plead/pay to see the finished article? I work with several Flashman fans and they have all also had a look (I printed the chapters off at work, hope that's ok?) and have nothing but glowing praise for it. They also wish to see more, but that is up to yourself.
So the second volume, is it Flashman fighting for the union and his mission for President Lincoln?
Very, very well done.
Best regards, Chris

Very generous remarks, and much appreciated. Not blowing my own trumpet so much as hoping the publishers, who I've referred to this site, will take notice. Not that it's their final decision, of course.


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