The Empire rules by blood
Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.
The Aktibar – a set of trials held every ten years to find the next Ember rulers of the Empire – is about to begin.
All can join but not just anyone can win; it requires great skill and ingenuity to become the future wardens of Strength, Knowledge, Truth and Duty.
Sylah was destined to win the trials and be crowned Warden of Strength. Stolen by blue-blooded rebels she was raised with a Duster’s heart; forged as a weapon to bring down from within the red-blooded Embers’ regime of cruelty. But when her adopted family were brutally murdered those dreams of a better future turned to dust.
However, the flame of hope may yet be rekindled because Sylah wasn’t made to sparkle, she was born to burn.
And it’s up to her whether she rules the empire or destroys it.
About the author
With a DNA profile that lights up like a satellite photograph of earth, Saara El-Arifi's heritage is intrinsically linked to the themes she explores in her writing.She was raised in the Middle East until her formative years, when her family swapped the Abu Dhabi desert for the English Peak District hills. This change of climate had a significant impact on her growth—not physically, she’s nearly 6ft—and she learned what it was to be Black in a white world.El-Arifi knew she was a storyteller from the moment she told her first lie. Though her stories have developed beyond the ramblings of a child, she still appreciates the thrill of a well-told tale.THE FINAL STRIFE is Saara El-Arifi's debut novel, the first part of a trilogy inspired by Ghanaian folklore and Arabian myths.
- ‘El-Arifi is a game-changing new voice in epic fantasy, and The Final Strife is a triumph of book, full of rage, charm, and a cast of misfits you can’t help but root for. There are no Chosen Ones here. Only bad choices and blood’Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne
- ‘Epic, gripping and searing, The Final Strife weaves a fascinating tale of destiny, magic and love set in a richly imagined yet brutally divided world. Its unexpected, gritty heroine is one you cannot help but root for, and the story will stay with you long after the last page’Sue Lynn Tan, author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess
- ‘El-Arifi tells a tale that is as fierce as its characters, plunging you into a sandy, stratified world until you can feel the grit between your teeth. Heart-wrenching and heart-pounding, The Final Strife is an unmissable debut’Andrea Stewart, author of Bone Shard Daughter
- ‘Full of rich, vivid world-building with political intrigue and characters you can’t help but root for. I loved it’Christina Sweeney-Baird, author of The End of Men
- ‘Epic fantasy turned on its head in the most compelling way imaginable. A heroine with bite, a supporting cast of flawed but deeply human characters, and world building that is raw, unforgiving and richly textured, The Final Strife is the real deal. El-Arifi is a bold new voice in epic fantasy and I cannot wait to read more of her work’Kalynn Bayron, bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead and This Poison Heart