An Ember in the Ashes
Written by Sabaa Tahir
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 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.
Primary Source Pairing:
Laia and Elias may live in the same area but their worlds are completely different. They do have one thing in common, and that is their desire to leave where they are to escape to somewhere different, safer, far from the lives they live now. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study two maps created for the setting of this book. Make these maps available in print when checking out the book.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What size and shape is the map?
- What graphical elements do you see?
- What on the map looks strange or unfamiliar?
- What place or places does the map show?
- What, if any, words do you see?
- How does this map help you understand the setting and plot of An Ember in the Ashes?