Helene Aquilla is added as a third narrator in A Torch Against the Night, the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes.
Warning: Spoilers regarding An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
It’s Helene week (#HeleneWeek) for all your Emberlings out there. That is correct, Helene Aquilla gets her own week, because not only was she an important character in the first book by Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes, but she’s an even more important character in the second book, A Torch Against the Night. So important that Sabaa has given her a voice to tell her side of the story, of which an excerpt from it was released today!
But before you do, we’ll warn you again that while there it no significant spoilers in this excerpt, it’s still an excerpt, so read at your own risk.
Emperor Marcus has taken up residence in Villa Veturia.
In Elias’s home.
“At the Commandant’s urging, no doubt,” my father says, as guards wearing Veturia colors open the villa’s gate to us. “She’ll want to keep him close.”
I wish he’d picked anywhere else. Memory assails me as we pass through the courtyard. Elias is everywhere, his presence so strong that I know if I just turn my head, he’ll be inches away, shoulders thrown back in careless grace, a quip on his lips.
But of course he’s not here, and neither is his grandfather, Quin. In their places are dozens of Gens Veturia soldiers watching the walls and roofs. The pride and disdain that were the Veturia hallmark under Quin are gone. Instead, an undercurrent of sullen fear ripples through the courtyard. A whipping post is haphazardly erected in one corner. Fresh blood spatters the cobblestones around it.
I wonder where Quin is now. Somewhere safe, I hope. Before I helped him escape into the desert north of Serra, he gave me a warning. You watch your back, girl. You’re strong, and she’ll kill you for it. Not outright. Your family is too important for that. But she’ll find a way. I didn’t have to ask him whom he was talking about.
My father and I enter the villa. Here’s the foyer where Elias greeted me after our graduation. The marble staircase we raced down as children, the drawing room where Quin entertained, the butler’s pantry at its back, where Elias and I spied on him.
By the time Father and I are escorted to Quin’s library, I am scrambling for control over my thoughts. It’s bad enough that Marcus, as Emperor, can order me to do his bidding. I cannot also allow him to see me mourning Elias. He’ll use such weakness to his advantage—I know it.
You can read more of the excerpt on Bustle
A Torch Against the Night will be available in stores August 30, 2016.