Death. Blackmail. Guilt. At the precipice lies doom or salvation.
But the greatest enemy resides within.
The tables have turned. Bret is now an adult, and he has responsibilities and obligations. He can no longer be silent—about his father’s accident, his music, or his future. Beyond the Precipice, set in Edmonton and the University of Alberta, is a story about grief, loss, discovery, and redemption.
The dictionary defines precipice as
1. “a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face,” and
2. “a situation of great peril.”
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ~Victor Hugo.
“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
BEYOND THE PRECIPICE is a story about how adulthood changes the protagonist’s situation, perspective, and sense of responsibility.
Though not a screenplay, Beyond the Precipice is a character-driven story that advances largely through dialogue that appears deceptively simple on the surface, but which holds the key through subtle cues to Bret’s internal torture. The story is interpretive rather than one of high action and requires some life experience or prior knowledge of grief and abuse psychology to fully appreciate. The book’s basis lies in internal conflict (man versus himself) although some external conflict exists.
Beyond the Precipice illuminates some of today’s social issues that debilitate youth and adults who struggle to make their way in a world that perhaps emphasizes the wrong values. Ultimately, the reader can apply his or her own perspectives to the lessons buried within a story that is driven by unconditional love.
And I raised your voice from a stone
With the song of the dead.
There’s a way
A STORY OF GRIEF, LOSS, DISCOVERY, AND REDEMPTION
“It’s only with the heart that one can see clearly. What’s essential, is invisible to the eye.”–The Fox in The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)
Bret Killeen keeps his older brother happy to protect the Secret and their mother, honours the old man’s final wishes by never letting music rule his life, stays out of his abusive uncle’s way, and keeps his childhood friend at a safe distance.
But university is a world of temptation that threatens to erode Bret’s foundation of denial with the lure of possibility.
When Bret meets cello player Nicole, who dreams of joining the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, she rattles the uneasy truce he maintains with music to keep his own passions in check. Suppressing his talent becomes increasingly difficult. Worse: he unintentionally falls in love, which leaves him questioning his past and his worth.
Meanwhile, Bret’s childhood friend rekindles a band, and Nicole’s dangerously likable brother becomes the new drummer.
Moreover, Nicole’s dad, Dr. Kern Willoughby, provides a stark contrast to Bret’s own father and uncle, an enlightening that drives Bret further into uncertainty as he spirals into the depths of self-loathing, doubt, and despair.
Ensnared by guilt, Bret cannot resolve his grief over his father’s death and his own role in the accident until he shifts his perspective. The truth his mother needs to know, the power his brother holds over him, and the man their father really was are the sources Bret must tap to earn his freedom.
At the threshold of adulthood (age 18 in Alberta, Canada), Bret stands upon the precipice of decision: confront what haunts him, sever his chains, and trust the Willoughbys’ faith in him–or succumb to the forces of the past and fall to his doom.
Can he risk exposing the truth to win back his life and truly unite with Nicole, or in doing so, will he lose her altogether?
What books/movies is Beyond the Precipice similar to? Are you a musician? What is the role of the Willoughbys? Answers to these questions and more in Author Q&A.
Publisher Linda J. Pedley of Dream Write Publishing was chosen Canada 150 Community Leader for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
This staircase on the north side of the High Level Bridge features in Beyond the Precipice: