An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir was picked up by Razorbill in a major deal and also optioned by Paramount in a seven-figure deal.
Sabaa Tahir first made waves in the publishing world as an intern for the Washington Post. Her story about an arranged marriage from her point of view garnered attention from MTV, who wanted to make a reality show. She even got several marriage proposals. Tahir declined all and when she graduated from UCLA she began working at the Washington Post’s foreign desk. She still continued to write, and six years later she landed a deal most authors only dream about.
If you’re wondering about Tahir’s writing influences, there is a piece she wrote about Harry Potter that gives some pretty interesting insight. She is definitely a fan, although was a reluctant one at first. An Ember in the Ashes has hints of ancient Rome and a Hunger Games-like competition to become the next emperor. It is definitely a book to keep on your radar. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until 2015 to read it.
Laia, 17, is a coward and so far, it’s kept her alive. As a Scholar living under the brutal rule of the Martial Empire, Laia knows that courage will only get her killed. Then the Martials imprison Laia’s brother for treason. To save him from execution, Laia must step out of the shadows and embark on a quest that will take her from the haunted catacombs of her city to the halls of Blackcliff Academy, where the Empire trains its most feared soldiers. She must find the courage to defy everything the Martials stand for in a place where defiance has one outcome: death.
Elias, 20, is Blackcliff’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Sickened by the prospect of hunting and killing Scholars who oppose the Empire, Elias decides to desert the military. But before he can run, he’s ordered to participate in the Trials, a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. Elias must wage war in the Trials with skill and ferocity while struggling with a deep inner ambivalence. For while losing the Trials might cost him his life, winning them could cost him his soul.
When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at Blackcliff, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the Empire itself.