The Boys of Fire and Ash

When you leave the only home you have ever known, the world can be a dangerous place…

‘When the next baby is dropped, I will leave to make room for him. He will take my place.’

Abandoned at birth, the Brothers of the Ikkuma Pit know no mothers. They fend for themselves, each training their Little Brother to survive – until their Leaving Day and it’s time to leave the Pit behind.

No boy knows what’s beyond the forest. No Brother has ever come back. Until now…

  • Type: Fiction, Kids
  • Age Range: Middle Grade
  • Number of Pages: 254
  • Original Publication Date: May 2015
  • Publisher: Delacorte (USA)
  • Rights Sold:
    • Andersen Press (World)
    • Dancing Cat (Canada)
    • Delacorte/Penguin Random House (US)
    • Bertrand (Brazil)

What people are saying:

An intriguing story … McIsaac has a knack for creating multi-dimensional characters; Urgle in particular is well drawn. The action is fast-paced and will keep readers engaged.

  • — National Reading Campaign

An ambitious novel which should impress epic fantasy enthusiasts thoroughly … an excellent read perfectly suited for middle grade audiences. Recommended.

  • — CM Magazine

The novel is urgently gritty, with rich worldbuilding and plenty of action.

  • — Publisher's Weekly

McIsaac’s debut fantasy novel is fast-paced and heartstopping. . . . This self-contained story is an entertaining read that will be enjoyed by many.

  • — School Library Journal

Contemplative readers will be left with questions to ponder and ethical decisions to mull as well as a satisfying and tense read.

  • — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

An imaginative world with the glint of originality…richly conceived

  • — The Sunday Times, Book of the Week, Nicolette Jones

The Pit and its community [are] a thought-through world, the writing sharp and funny, the boys an arresting mixture of toughness and tenderness.

  • — The Guardian

A fast-moving, sometimes heartbreaking adventure with enough action to keep readers entertained, [with] a subtle message that no one should be judged without having a chance to prove him- or herself.

  • — Quill and Quire, Laura Godfrey

The compelling mythology and dystopian setting will appeal to genre readers. Fans of James Dashner, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Patrick Ness need look no further.

  • — Kirkus

Fans of Rick Riordan and Anthony Horowitz will want to read this action-filled debut novel that offers a new world to enjoy and a new underdog to root for.

  • — Booklist


  • Shortlisted, 2014 Sunburst Award (Young Adult)
  • Shortlisted, 2015 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award