Book Jacket


rank 2998
word count 28268
date submitted 28.04.2011
date updated 29.07.2011
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller...
classification: adult

The Edge

Claudette Förster

The enemy wants her. The allies have her. Terrorism sets her free.


When Helen moves from the suburbs of London to the harsh realities of Baghdad, she did not know the events of 9/11 would change her life forever. A failed attempt to take out Saddam Hussein results in the carnage of innocent lives. Viewed as nothing more than collateral damage, Helen is propelled into a world of extremism, hatred and revenge.

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, abuse, betrayal, bravery, friendship, middle east, murder, passion, political, rape, terrorism, torture

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neicyhope101 wrote 516 days ago

Absolutely stunning!

BeckyMarie wrote 1018 days ago

The prologue is gripping. I can't wait to get to the first chapter.

PureOxytocin wrote 1020 days ago

I am a man of few words: Breathtaking brilliance.

ZoranBlack wrote 1022 days ago

Sheer BRILLIANCE. A wonderful yet tortuous (no pun intended) read and a wonderful mental vacation away from the usual (and not a vampire in sight :-))

ClaireLyman wrote 1023 days ago

It's always a pleasure on this site to find someone who can really write. You have a great command of language, evidenced in words like mellifluous, in your imaginative ways of telling us she was short - everyone seemed tall to her - in phrases like Helen's face filled all the empty places. And I like the awkwardness of this first encounter - very realistic. I wonder though if anyone actually says 'much maligned' ... Though all credit to them if they do. Maybe 'purists look down their noses at it' or something like that?
Also, and these really are tiny nits but since your standards are high I struggled to find much to criticise. A stronger adjective than 'happy' might be good in thst first line, and I'm also not sure that you need 'a cacophony'. Voices, clanking glasses, smoke, filled the air, (esp as smoke isn't sound so can't technically be part of a cacophony - I hope you don't mind my splitting hairs like this, but I know it's the kind of comment I'm grateful for). I also wondered if you introduced to many secondary characters too quickly in those first few paragraphs.
The prologue was harrowing and I confess I didn't read it all, but it's testimony to your writing that you made it so vivid that I had to look away. As I think someone else has said, I would change the word 'love' to 'some distortion of love', 'what he imagined to be love' or 'lust'. Also, the word 'kneel' in the first few sentenes is maybe a bit much as you've just had 'knees'. Really splitting hairs now, sorry!
Highly starred - hope my comments are helpful and that it continues to do well for you!

celticwriter wrote 1023 days ago

Hi Claudette,
Happily rebacking.


Diane60 wrote 1027 days ago

Taut gripping and a very uneasy read. Read all 16. Beautifully constructed and written. Not an easy subject but you haven't glorified or made light of it. All the characters are 3 dimensional. Even though it was a difficult subject i did enjoy what you wrote.
Wish you continued success.
Have given you stars but will have a spot on the shelf next month hope that is ok!

katie78 wrote 1031 days ago

wow. this is good. i always worry when i see the word 'prologue' that i'm about to get a big chunk of background narrative. but you start with an active scene and your details are so visual, so visceral. i can see and feel it all. i wish i knew how to do copy and paste here because there are so many great lines.

this is not something i would typically read- as far as the subject. but it is so well written, the momentum is maintained throughout the chapter. i'll be back to read more and i may back this when my shelf shifts next week.

i saw a few minor problems (in my opinion).
when you write in the first scene that for him it was 'love', i question the use of this word. lust? desire?
i think there's some pov confusion in the scene between molak and preston. do you mean to deliver the scene in omniscient?
in the final scene, i worry about your use of song lyrics because copyright issues make it impossible.

again, these descriptions are so well done. i feel like my head is in a sack, m hands are bound, my knees are bloody, etc. really good job. thanks for the read.

mrsdfwt wrote 1031 days ago

Dear Claudette,
Great tension in the first chapter, it gripps the reader and won't let go. It's the sort of scene you see in movies, unfortunately, animalistic and cruel. The second chapter on the other hand, is lovely. It takes us to the other end of the spectrum, to the excitement and thrill of a first date.
Starred high and WLed
Dark of the Moon

Ivan Amberlake wrote 1036 days ago

Dear Claudette, I love the beginning of The Edge as you use the language masterfully and create a thriling read. I'd recommend you to either shorten the prologue or turn it into chapter 1 because you are bound to meet people who don't like prologues (I have one in my book, therefore I tell you about it). I'm sure you'll find a wide audience for your book and best wishes to you with it! Starred with greatest pleasure and thank you for contacting.

Kindest regards,

susanbrauner wrote 1036 days ago

You are a good writer and the first chapter was powerful. I'm happy to give you a lot of stars, and watchlist for now. Good luck to you!

The Adventures of Sohi: Mystery of Moon Island

Eunice Attwood wrote 1038 days ago

A fascinating read. I wish you the best of luck, and have added you to my WL until I have a space. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

sunrize604 wrote 1039 days ago

Your book is incredibly vivid and brutal from the beginning. This is as real as life gets. It's gritty, terrifying and as raw as a gaping wound. It's mesmerizing. Will back soon, Im very impressed.

Jacoba wrote 1039 days ago

Hi Claudette,
Thanks for the inviataion for a read.
As others have said this is very well written. You have a natural flair for knowing which words work best to pack the punch you want to achieve. I can imagine you spent a lot of time making sure each sentence did its job to engage and captivate the reader. That attention to detail in sentence structure is so important. Choosing the right words is so important, and being economical in the process not to overdo it is so important. I think you have a fine blend of all those techniques. I cringed and felt physically revolted reading that second chapter, just the kind of reactiion you want I expect.
I have no edits to suggest. I am just in awe at how talented you are.
I don't star, gave up that caper, but I will put you on my watchlist and try to give you some shelf time in the coming weeks.
Great Job,
Cheers Jacoba

Andi Brown wrote 1039 days ago

Hi Claudette,

This is really powerful stuff. You don't waste any time getting the reader engaged with the story. I love the Sesame Street running through her head. Very clever. You're a fine writer, and this deserves a wide audience. I've given you many stars.

All best,
Animal Cracker

monicque wrote 1040 days ago

HI Claudette! Here reading your work. Gee, the first chapter was easy to get through!!
In the next bit, fantastic work!! But wwas she not in pain? you don't say this until quite a way down. Before that, I'm not sure I can believe that she doesn't feel the physical pain - unless she is actually dead.
In the paragraph after ###, I can't 'see' what is going on. Are they holding her? Where are they? I would cut this para, cause the next one describes it well.
Shit. What happened to that baby? Can you tell us more about that??
This is awesome!! I read through that whole chapter. There were a few minor distracting words... Gee, I wish you would put this work on scribophile - have you heard of it? Cause this is really very good, but I think still needs a final polish - which you'd be able to achieve with the sort of help you'll get on scribophile. Look me up there if you're interested, cause I'd be interested in reading this entire book... but on authonomy it's kind of slightly painful because you can't comment in-line here.
Your work is really wonderful, and very enjoyable, despite the horror... Thanks so much for sharing this, I'll give you a 6 star rating... The books on my shelf, I'm going to stick with for a while, but when one drops off, I think your book will be next on.
Great work Claudette.
The Multiple Choice.

elmo2 wrote 1040 days ago

started your piece, love the quote, can't go wrong with shakespeare, haha, but with the serious subject of your work the source is appropriate, i read the first couple chapters and was not so impressed, though the first chapter was dramatic enough, and i like the characterization of the woman feeling dead already, numbed, the feeling was still a bit static, perhaps you used too many be verbs and that's, i looked at the comments and saw one person mentioned from chapter 11 on they were captivated, i read chapter 11 and some there after and was impressed, i got caught up in the action and the writing flowed, i watch listed your piece and will give it a good rating, i want to come back to it and read more, perhaps you purposely used a dramatic first chapter to capture the reader and then switched to a more objective static set up to mirror your characters' naivete and innocence, changing as characters experienced and matured, i am not sure that wholly works, perhaps some revealing inner dialogue early would be interesting, you are a good writer, much better than i am, and i hope to get back to your piece, i will probably back it some where along the line, if you get a chance take a look at one of my pieces 'ghost dance' or 'crow diary'

Orlando Furioso wrote 1040 days ago

Ch 9

Ach, a cracking opening. The phoney war. The cat toying with its prey, seemingly ignoring it even. Just as the restauranter had probably forgotten about the wine incident. There is Carly. Her childish innocence takes their minds off more serious matters, as is normal. But we feel things tightening up because of what happens to the two Foundtion folk. Meanwhile David's zeal to make things work burns strong. Perhaps his reports are ignored, but in a way he ignores the danger around him, too. Despite the awful encounter in Ch 8 the love story is still in the driving seat at the end of this chapter and the world's spikiness has yet to intrude properly.

I will definitely read on as I am into it now.



Orlando Furioso wrote 1040 days ago

September 2001.

A sinister date. We can sense foreboding from the date alone. And from the start the floor is 'unwelcoming' now. The focus on childrens' language skills and the thousands-of-years-old relics of civilisation make everything seem normal, positive, culturally enlightened. They are in a place of heritage ... and then the beast appears. I was bristling The notion of the armed clowns and the suits forming a megalomanic court around the big man is vile. Everything makes us want to face the crew down. Yet we wld be mad to of course. We wld die. They are clearly dangerous. There must be no false moves in their presence. How pathetic of the lesser goons that they clearly get a buzz out of being the big man's heat. We feel the old man's shaking body. The old man and the big man are perhaps two faces of Iraq, one meek and friendly, the other dangerous and hostile. We also feel the big man's staring at Helen.

'Uday' ... so now we know! We have read about him in our papers, but he seems very alive bursting into our minds through your story. All that has gone is normal and recongnisable. D and H cld be us in sligtly different circmstances. We believe in their lives and love. And suddenly ... Uday bursts into our intimacy with H and D. Because you have made us feel them so well with your patient build up to this moment we FEEL Uday's menace. (We might also think back to the pics of how he ended, and how his father ended. We are fully engaged with both aspects of your story, the love story and the history.We were tickling mummy only a few hundred words ago now we are hearing about insane violence. And because we know that the beast was out of control as you say this gives an extra twist of credibility to your story. The terrified reports on Uday's doings tilt your story towards dark places.

We understand Helen's reluctance to cave in to the panic But we also understand why other's panic for her. There is her young child, above all. The only sensible thing is to leave soonest. But then H&D are in love they and, arguably, they were not sensible when they went there in the first place, so sense is not in the driving seat. Someone has to take risks to improve things for others. D is the son of a British army officer. we an see that he wld like the challenge of trying to fix impoverished places. But there is always someone like Uday to get in the way. This is a very strong chapter. We can't help thinking of the terrible harm the real Uday and his relatives did to thousands of people.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1040 days ago

Ch 7
This chapter is a happy one. The arrival, though hot, goes well. The house is surprisingly more than expected. We can feel the cool tiles beneath Helen's feet and hear the little one running around excitedly. Yet the local 'children' are in uniforms and have guns.This dab made me think of the USA, 'They come here full of ambition and eager to change things ... become frustrated and leave.' The love story is still very much in charge at tne end of this chapter with, 'Let's tickle mummy.'

Orlando Furioso wrote 1040 days ago

Ch 6
The story starts to tilt away from the safety and love to be found at home, with the first mention of 'Samir'. And the heart misses a beat with, 'So it's Iraq then.'

Orlando Furioso wrote 1040 days ago

Ch 5

The love story within the story is absolutely charming and delicate. The impression of David sensing the twtches is so gentle. It is a great contrast to what is to follow. It underscores the nastiness by its oppositeness. I imagine the impatient publisher might say, give me more action early on. But that wld be crash commercialism. The steady layering of love early on feels absolutely right. We know from the prologue what looms...and dread it in some ways. It is a terrible thing for love to be punctured by such ugliness. O how wry it is that men who think themselves powerful in their ways are so often ugly inside themselves. They don't realise that their moral ugliness diminishes their power. But that is the nature of ugliness. It just does not understand beauty, mistaking power for ... They have no idea.

The lines, 'It's just that I'm so happy...floating around in this great big bubble.' cld almost be the baby thinking in some ways. Perhaps we cld all think that in retrospect. Maybe the life without the bubble is the spike which punctures our nine months of perfect safeness. Perhaps those nine months of our lives are the very best but we... Yes, life is sharp often. Like the word Irak is k-k-sharp.

Liked '...relieved that this was their emergency and not hers.' And I cld see 'Helen disappear behind swing doors.'

The events of sixteen years ago overshadow the moment much as we know that events to follow will overshadow the moment perhaps. Life is fragile.

Liked '...the hosp emerged from its slunber.' The giant breakfast trolleys cld almost be the USA. So many patients just want to slumberrrrrr on!

Ach, I remeber those small hand moments. There is nothing more lovely and life affirming than those little fingers grasping a big parental finger. No going back after that moment! Yet how sad that so many forget those moments in their selfishness later on and...split up.

celticwriter wrote 1043 days ago

Hi Claudette....haven't been able to read much of your work...I've been out of town a lot...however I do like what I'm reading so far! :-) You've a nice, natural style. Will be shelving soon.


Orlando Furioso wrote 1044 days ago

Aut Ch 4

I have not got my head round your chaptering scheme yet ... I see you haven't numbered or titled some but you have others. This portion feels like a continuation of LONDON, APRIL 1995 so I am guessing that you are clusting chapters somehow. I will find out as I red of course, but others might see the absence of ch headings or numbers throughout as a road bump. But I am not easily put off.

I am fascinated that this and the earlier chapter are uber-romantic and have not immediatly plunged me into a storm of violence and grief -- as yet. But looking at your tags that is clearly coming. The gentleness and love in these early pages will I suspect underscore the nastiness to come.

'He wondered how he had ever existed without her energy, her laughter, her love.' Sigh! Definitely love.

And the directness of the old boy! Very Shakespearean. There is love and there is the worm in all of life. The old boy knows, damn him. He shouldn't really say it. But he does.

The fact H's appetite for art is now secondary shows that she is as loved up ad D.

I was soooooooo glad when she didn't find him with someone else in room 324. Love and loyalty must succeed in life and literature. Not all must be doom and deceit. But, I wonder, mindful of your tags, will this love survive events? I think back to your prolgue and fear for H and D. But for now they are OK, happy, in love. Just as many of those people were who went to work on Sept 11 in New York. Events ...

Orlando Furioso wrote 1044 days ago

Aut Ch 3

I like the finess of the 'Guardian of the Seat' dab. The seat gives him a role which is as a plank to a socially drowning man. Most of the weaker half of the species live in dread of such social awkwardness. Ach, you nail his nervousness perfectly with 'unsure whether to stand or sit'. And of course his embarassment is underscored by womaned Patrick knowing exactly how to behave, but then he has the advantage of knowing H. 'His heart skipped a beat' also tells us that he is nailed in another way! despite his diffidence. What a lunk allowing himself to be kitted out for the date!

'She felt safe with him,' tells us everything, as safety and excitement seem to be key needs. I wonder if a man can meet both needs? I suppose it depends which a woman wants. But the phrase is striking. I am sure that most of us want both at different times, for different reasons and -- here be dragons -- not always from the same source. Is this why women love bad boys, because they excite? David is clearly no bad boy and his hair is unintersting, but lush n wavy. Yikes and those lips! He is definitely not a threatening type. And good teeth. Healthy breeding material. And his job sort of parallels his hair being on the one hand non-threatening, non-selfish, a job which shows a caring and compassionate soul. Yet interesting because of the travel experiences. He is not a cad, or a killer banker, nor is he image obsessed. Yes, safe. And his luck is in! That raised glass from a strange maie is worth about 10,000 morale points in the male life game.

H is well drawn. I can see her. I really like the 'short nails stained in a rainbow of different colours.' She is soooo NOT a footballer's wife fashion clone type. And her interest in artistic matters puts her on the same principled intellectual emotional zone as D. Even their names are sort of matched, not being daft in some super-uber-trendy daft way. Short nails good.

The best graph for me in this ch is the one about Carol's mission and the way, for Helen, 'Her friend's efforts had begun to fascinate her more than the men she was introducted to.' Psychologically interesting, well observed, and well put.

So, too, you crank up D's gaucheness really well. How the hell will anything ever come of this?! No eye contact, none of the usual, just lots of jabbering about their respective roles and ooodles of awkwardness. H noticing his new shoes was also another nail in the romance coffin. But ... His heart did skip that beat. It is as if there is another agenda going on between them beneath or above the words. It is as if she subconsciously felt that missed beat of his and has to steer him round to doing something about it. Hence she does loves work and engages the real David Eden. Neat. And very romantic. We know that beneath the gauchness there is more to him than your average in-your-face alpha dude.

Your characters are also defining your readers I think.

Story wise, the contrast between the brutality in the prologue and the gentleness of this chapter is total. I am curious to know how we get from one to the other. And will D turn out as I suspect he might. What will happen? i am curious.


Orlando Furioso wrote 1045 days ago

That is an eyecatching pitch. The evens of 9/11 and the Iraq debacle were most definitely 'extremeism, hatred and revenge' all three of which show us at our very worst. The Shakespear quote captures much, so, too, revent events show that our essential nature has not changed.

ABU GHRAIB triggers many thoughts and associations. I and others wld immediately think of L.English and the pics of the dogs taunting a heap of inmates -- human beings.

But what is the point of view, or rather whose is the point of view? The further I read the more I thought it was that the victim was a novel victim. I had to shed my assumption that the prisoner wld be a man. But I got there! The prisoner's assessment of the 'fool' was good and my attention pricked up at mention of Lt Col Preston and pysops -- reminds of cyclops! i.e. semi-blind giants. I wonder why it is that mean-eyed cols seem to embody all the grimness of the military mind. So you had me thinking.

The interrogation was recognisable nastiness. And I found myself wondering what music were they playing? Slayer, Anthrax or some such.

Poor old Molak, mad colonels are not the ones to rile. I wld read on to find out more from this point.


HeatherB wrote 1048 days ago

Brilliant. At last, a gripping piece of writing that keeps you hostage from beginning to (not yet) end. Can't wait for it to get published to continue the read. Well done.

firmlywicked wrote 1075 days ago

I love your book. Your book is beautifully dark and well written. I love how naive your MC is and would love to see how she matures throughout the story. If you ever upload more of your book, please let me know. You do know how to leave a reader wanting more. : )

Roman N Marek wrote 1083 days ago

This is, without doubt, the most gripping story I have read on this site so far. It grabs you by the throat and refuses to let you go, although it takes a few chapters to get there. The first chapter got my attention from the start. Then came the calm before the storm: a lovely romance, the birth of the child, and the relocation to Iraq – all the time with the knowledge of impending horrors. These start with the chilling meeting with Uday Hussein and then ramp up from Ch.11 onwards. Terrific, horrific, page-turning stuff. From then on, each chapter is more gripping than the one before. Like a previous reviewer, I would like to read more but, being a sensitive soul, am really afraid to do so! I dread to see what awfulness follows.
My only comment relates to David’s story in Ch.5 which I found a little confusing. It took me a few re-readings to piece together how all the names fitted together. What added to the confusion was that David had just asked Helen to “tell him about Carlotta Rose”. At this point I didn’t know who Carlotta Rose is – so assumed it is someone from Helen’s past. So, when I read about Carlotta Eden, I assumed it to be the same Carlotta. Slowly it dawned on me that this is David’s story and not Helen’s, and that Carlotta was his mother. Only much later did I twig that Carlotta Rose is the baby’s name. I don’t know if I’ve explained my confusion very well, but I was confused (easily done, though).
I also found a few typos, which I will send to you separately in a message.
I have no doubt this will do well. It is powerful, disturbing and thought-provoking writing. Recommended to anyone not of a sensitive disposition. Top marks from me.

Aidan2002 wrote 1088 days ago

This is wonderfully written and very disturbing. Helen's first encounter with Uday was chilling; the second is horrific. I want to read more, but don't at the same time. This man is evil beyond comprehension. Helen is so naive that you want to shake her and say run. This is brilliant. Aidan

davidbowen wrote 1088 days ago

Beautifully written descriptive prose combined with a realism that takes you into the world you're reading about. This book drags you in and makes you want to read more; real quality.