Five Fathoms Beneath

Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Loren Eiseley’s The Star Thrower – A lyrical, dark, but ultimately life-affirming book about mental illness, suicide, and family.

Five Fathoms Beneath is available on Amazon.

But what strikes me hardest about my dad is how he dedicated his life to salvaging hopeless situations, yet when he was in trouble, when he urgently needed help, he felt as though he could not ask for it.

If Ambrose Serafeim’s life is not quite perfect, then it’s very good—he lives in picturesque Western Australia, he has a lovely fiancée, and he is well on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a physician. Brose owes no small part of his station in life to his famous father, Alec, a gentle and idealistic pediatric heart surgeon who lives by a simple moral code—do good and be good. Brose believes in his father and that code the way he believes in absolutes like oxygen or gravity. But when Alec shatters Brose’s perfect world by acting in a way Brose can neither forgive nor understand, Brose is left foundering amidst an existential crisis and clinical depression, unsure not only who he is, but who his father was.

That is until a catastrophic injury in a running race changes everything.

The road from that catastrophic injury leads Brose to the same heart-stopping precipice on which Alec once stood. Facing the possible end of his marriage and having seemingly lost his career, will Brose repeat his father’s terrible mistake, or will Brose blaze a new path forward, one where he finally realizes his potential to help others?

A twist on Loren Eiseley’s famous essay, “The Star Thrower,” Five Fathoms Beneath blends a realistic medical backdrop with a dash of magical realism to tell the heartbreaking yet ultimately life-affirming tale of a man’s quest to find his life’s meaning.


Five Star Selection – Reader’s Favorite

Five Fathoms Beneath gives just a dash of supernatural belief to a compelling contemporary story with real dramas that test the mettle of the human condition … a highly recommended read for drama fans.

2018 Wishing Shelf Book Award Finalist – Adult Fiction

A well-polished novel with strong characterisation. A FINALIST and highly recommended.

Literary Titan Gold Award 

This book was engaging, well paced, had extremely well written characters, and never patronized or hid from its difficult subject matter.

Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Recipient

Short-Listed – Da Vinci Eye Award (Best Cover Design)


If you’re looking for feel-good fiction, look no further than Five Fathoms Beneath. Sure, it’s a story of a young doctor battling depression. Also, yes, his father commits suicide. But when I said feel-good, I meant it. Thanks to J.R. Alcyone, it’s easy to recognize that there’s hope for our main character, and that really, there’s plenty for us too. …. Five Fathoms Beneath tackles many hearty themes throughout its pages. The relationship between fathers and sons may be the most prevalent, but perhaps Alcyone’s best work comes in how she deals with the topic of mental illness. It impacts all those around Alec and Ambrose: from significant others to children to patients. Alcyone does a wonderful job in illuminating the sometimes-invisible signs of mental illness while offering up productive new ways for the reader to feel hope. – Independent Book Review

Five Fathoms Beneath is available on Amazon.