An Ember in the Ashes topped many bestseller lists and blogger favorites so how exciting for EW to be able to give a sneak peek of the sequel, A Torch Against the Night. Sabaa Tahir writes a compellingly epic story about multiple characters all fighting to survive in a world of act violent or be treated violently. Giving voice to the voiceless of a society that has yet to become civilized in its dealings, relying on traditions and mythos and religious atrocities, Tahir highlights the horrors of today’s world events.
Which is why readers wanted more of all these characters’ perspectives. The POVs draw us in, give us hope for betterment, enlightenment and the realization that our future depends on open-minded young people. It’s a fraught and frightful world and we need to encourage bravery in standing up for what’s right, and those who cannot — these emotional currents threading through An Ember in the Ashes in different ways.
[lead]EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE: [/lead]
Chapter 1: Laia
How did they find us so fast?
Behind me, the catacombs echo with angry shouts and the screech of metal. My eyes dart to the grinning skulls lining the walls. I think I hear the voices of the dead.
Be swift, be fleet, they seem to hiss. Unless you wish to join our ranks.
“Faster, Laia,” my guide says. His armor flashes as he hastens ahead of me through the catacombs. “We’ll lose them if we’re quick. I know an escape tunnel that leads out of the city. Once we’re there, we’re safe.”
We hear a scrape behind us, and my guide’s pale eyes flick past my shoulder. His hand is a gold-brown blur as it flies to the hilt of a scim slung across his back.
A simple movement full of menace. A reminder that he is not just my guide. He is Elias Veturius, heir to one of the Empire’s finest families. He is a former Mask—an elite soldier of the Martial Empire. And he is my ally—the only person who can help me break my brother Darin out of a notorious Martial prison.
In one step, Elias is beside me. In another, he is in front, moving with unnatural grace for someone so big. Together, we peer down the tunnel we have just passed through. My pulse thuds in my ears. Any elation I felt at destroying Blackcliff Academy or rescuing Elias from execution has vanished. The Empire hunts us. If it catches us, we die.
Sweat soaks through my shirt, but despite the rank heat of the tunnels, a chill runs across my skin and the hairs on the back of my neck rise. I think I hear a growl, like that of some sly, hungry creature.
Hurry, my instincts scream at me. Get out of here.
“Elias,” I whisper, but he brushes a finger against my lips—shh—and tugs a knife free from the half dozen strapped across his chest.
I pull a dagger from my belt and try to hear beyond the clicking of tunnel tarantulas and my own breathing. The prickling sense of being watched fades—replaced by something worse: the smell of pitch and flame; the rise and fall of voices getting closer.
READ MORE over at the EW site.
[lead]ABOUT THE AUTHOR:[/lead]
Sabaa Tahir is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult fantasy AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-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.
[lead]A Torch Against the Night goes on sale August 30, 2016.[/lead]
featured photo credit: (Joseph Siroker)