HarperVoyager has bought a “highly anticipated debut” for a substantial six-figure sum.
Emma Coode acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes from Penguin US.
Set in a fantastical world with echoes of ancient Rome, the book follows two young people fighting to be free of their empire’s brutal regime.
Laia is forced to overcome her fear of the brutal Martials in order to spy for the resistance and save her remaining family. She meets Elias, son of the Martial’s sadistic commandant, just as he is unwillingly thrown into a series of fight-or-die challenges to become the next Emperor.
An Ember in the Ashes was inspired by Tahir’s experiences as an editor on the foreign desk and as a child growing up in the Mojave Desert.
Tahir wanted to write something that “captured the violence of our world and our history, and juxtaposed it with characters who find hope, who search for freedom and love even when society wants to crush them.”
Coode said: “Sabaa Tahir’s wonderful fantasy adventure, An Ember in the Ashes, has great emotional depth and drama that is guaranteed to grab hold of readers of all ages.”
Film rights to the book have been sold to Paramount Pictures in a seven-figure pre-emptive deal, with Academy Award-winning producer Mark Johnson attached.