You know my name, but you do not know me.
by Saara El-Arifi
Borough Press, September 2025
(via Mushens Entertainment)
Credit: Mustafa Raee, Lightning Rod Films
After the death of her father, nineteen year old Cleopatra is thrust upon the throne, unaware of what the next twenty years would bring. Blessed by the Goddess Isis, Cleopatra’s reign is plagued by Roman intervention that even her deity cannot stop. She must navigate the Roman civil war, the wrath of the gods, but most of all the lure of love. Writing back to the millenia of propaganda and myth-making, El-Arifi weaves together a never seen before rendition of Cleopatra in this captivating new tale. With the magical spark of Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne and the feminist heart of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Cleopatra promises a spell-binding adventure in the land of ancient Egypt.
Saara El-Arifi is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Final Strife and The Battle Drum, the first two instalments of The Ending Fire Trilogy inspired by her Ghanaian and Sudanese heritage, and much beloved on Tik Tok. El-Arifi knew she was a storyteller from the moment she told her first lie. Over the years, she has perfected her tall tales into epic ones. She has lived in many countries, had many jobs, and owned many more cats. After a decade of working in marketing and communications, she returned to academia to complete a master’s degree in African studies alongside her writing career. She currently resides in London as a full-time procrastinator.
An African-inspired debut epic-fantasy novel following Sylah, a young woman who was raised as a weapon to destroy an Empire, but is now a drug-addicted drifter… until a chance meeting with a man she thought dead reinvigorates her purpose. First volume in a planned trilogy.
THE FINAL STRIFE
by Saara El-Arifi
Del Rey, 2022
The Empire is cruelly divided: red-blooded Embers can work magic with their blood, Dusters are blue-blooded and downtrodden, and pale-blooded Ghostings are mutilated at birth to punish them for their failed rebellion four hundred years earlier. But not everyone accepts the status quo. Stolen from her noble crib as a child, Sylah was one of ‘the Sandstorm’: twelve Ember children raised by rebels to one day bring down the empire – until a massacre left her the lone survivor. Years later she spends her days numb from addiction, fighting (and winning) in the ring to fund her habit. But when her long-lost stepbrother returns, determined to fulfil the purpose they were trained for, Sylah is caught between her blood, and her loyalties. Forced to confront everything she has run from, and the truth of her past, can Sylah achieve the destiny she was trained for?
Saara El-Arifi‘s heritage has always been intrinsically linked to the themes of her stories. She was raised by a Ghanaian/British mother and a Sudanese/Arab father—who were both brought up Christian and Muslim respectively. When she was reaching her formative years her family moved from the Middle East to a village outside of Sheffield, Yorkshire, where she learned what it was to be Black in a white world. Saara initially specialised in theatre directing, achieving a 1st BA Hons in Theatre Studies from Kent University, a Diploma in Directing from RADA and a badge for acting from Brownies. Her creative writing and specialism in theatre led her to the big screen, where she worked in film marketing and communications for nearly a decade.