An Ember in the Ashes (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

An engrossing and riveting young adult fantasy that's likely to become a hit series, Tahir's debut takes place in the lands of the Martial Empire, loosely based on the Roman Empire. When Laia's grandparents are killed and her brother is imprisoned for working with the resistance seeking to overthrow the cruel Martial regime, she is forced to work as a spy for the resistance in order to save her brother. Elias is an outstanding soldier and the son of the vicious Commandant, but beneath the surface he dreams of nothing but escape. Treachery, political machinations, prophecies, supernatural forces, destiny, loyalty and love weave together to make an absolutely thrilling novel! This is the kind of story you need to read in one sitting. The adult themes and brutal setting, including torture, murder and rape, make this book appropriate for older young adult audiences as well as adults. Ages 16+ 

— From Nancy's Book Picks


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Torch Against the Night


"This novel is a harrowing, haunting reminder of what it means to be human -- and how hope might be kindled in the midst of oppression and fear." -- The Washington Post

"An Ember in the Ashes could launch Sabaa Tahir into JK Rowling territory...It has the addictive quality of The Hunger Games combined with the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones."--Public Radio International

"An Ember in the Ashes glows, burns, and smolders--as beautiful and radiant as it is searing."--Huffington Post

"A worthy novel - and one as brave as its characters." --The New York Times Book Review

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire's impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They've seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia's brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire's greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school's finest soldier--and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he's being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined--and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

About the Author

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California's Mojave Desert at her family's eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother's comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. For more information, please visit Sabaa at or on Twitter @SabaaTahir.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781595148032
ISBN-10: 1595148035
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Pages: 464
Language: English
Series: Ember in the Ashes