White Ashes

Original title: Cendres blanches

Author: Sebban, Olivier

Publication Date:

March 2021



Original language and publisher

French | Payot & Rivages

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction

White Ashes

Original title: Cendres blanches

Author: Sebban, Olivier


The portrait of a powerful, indestructible woman in a world of men who reinvents herself through violent acts in the New York underworld, and whose power will be incarnated in revenge.

Winter, 1927: Ametza Echeverria stares at Manhattan Island from the ship that is bringing her to Ellis Island. In her wake is the memory of discreetly ferrying packages across the winding mountain paths in the Pyrenees along with her brother Franck, ever on the alert for customs agents; of her silent mother and despotic father; and of the Feast of St John, Diego’s warm body against her own, and their still-born child.

In New York, Ametza becomes Emma. She meets Saul Mendelssohn; together they dive into the frenzy of the city that never sleeps. They dance in speakeasies where doctored liquor flows like water. They organize hold-ups, robberies, and rackets, settle scores and plot with ambitious politicians and formidable criminals, while the Big Apple soars ever higher.

But you can never be rid of your past. When hers rears its head, Emma heads back to Europe to wage a vendetta.