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First, Become Ashes

K.M. Szpara

First, Become Ashes

K. M. Szpara follows Docile, one of the most anticipated science fiction novels of 2020, with First, Become Ashes, a fantastic standalone adventure that blends pain and pleasure and will make readers question what is real, and what is magical.

The Fellowship raised Lark to kill monsters.
His partner betrayed them to the Feds.
But Lark knows his magic is real, and he’ll do anything to complete his quest.

Lark spent the first twenty-four years, nine months, and three days of his life training for a righteous quest: to rid the world of monsters. Alongside his partner Kane, he wore the cage and endured the scourge in order to develop his innate magic. He never thought that when Kane left, he'd next see him in the company of FBI agents and a SWAT team. He never dreamed that the leader of the Fellowship of the Anointed would be brought up on charges of abuse and assault.

He never expected the government would tell him that the monsters aren't real—that there is no magic, and all the pain was for nothing.

Lark isn't ready to give up. He is determined to fulfill his quest, to defeat the monsters he was promised. Along the way he will grapple with the past, confront love, and discover his long-buried truth.

First, Become Ashes contains explicit sadomasochism and sexual content, as well as abuse and consent violations, including rape.

choose your format

Hardcover

Tor/Forge
Tor.com
Hardcover
On Sale: 04/06/2021
ISBN: 9781250216182
ISBN10: 1250216184
5.38 x 8.25 inches , 304 Pages

Digital Audio

Macmillan Audio
Macmillan Audio
Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781250790118
ISBN10: 1250790115

e-Book

Tor/Forge
Tordotcom
e-Book
ISBN: 9781250216175
ISBN10: 1250216176
304 Pages

About the Author

Hugo and Nebula finalist K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD. His debut novel is Docile, and his short fiction and essays appear in Uncanny,...

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REVIEWS

“Szpara is the rare author able to tackle trauma and healing without flinching.” —N. K. Jemisin

“I've been looking for the next Samuel R. Delany and the next Jacqueline Carey, and K.M. Spzara is both.” —Cecilia Tan

Praise for Docile

“An unforgettable story of human connection and the struggle to remain yourself in a world of debtors and creditors.” —Charlie Jane Anders

“An unflinching examination of class and bleakest capitalism. Brilliant. Properly chilling.” —Stoya

Docile is queer and kinky and doesn’t shy away from the complicated questions that can come into play with those intersecting realities” —WIRED

“If you're not careful, this disturbing, sexy, disturbingly sexy book will infect your brain, and you'll start wondering whether its miserable world is very different from our own, and how much choice any of us really have in this capitalist hellscape where so many of our options are set at birth. And then you might want to do something about it.” —Sam J. Miller

“Startlingly plausible and delicately insightful, this is a book that will haunt you.” —Seanan McGuire

“An unputdownable scifi dystopian erotica human rights masterpiece reminiscent of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty—but this time, the beauty fights back.” —Delilah S. Dawson

“This is what Fifty Shades of Grey could have been, if only it had been more brutally honest with itself.” —Jenn Lyons

Docile is an intricate exploration of power, privilege, and class dynamics. Szpara has successfully delivered a novel that is unflinching in its sensuality as well as its scrutiny.” —Sarah Gailey

“This powerful debut is filled with achingly tender and brutally raw prose. Szpara strikes out at capitalism as well as the pharmaceutical trade and its effects, while dancing on the emotional knife's edge between love and obedience.” —Library Journal starred review

“As powerful as it is plausible, Docile is a parable about consent, twisted love and challenging systemic abuse.” —Shelf Awareness

“This queer dystopia is an arresting, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying challenge.” —Publishers Weekly


“Brutally candid and endlessly readable, Docile is a chilling look into our all-too-possible dystopian future. Szpara has written a sharp, insightful warning about the dangers of greed, debt, Big Pharma and capitalism that shouldn’t be ignored.” —Ms. Magazine

“The hook may be titillating—to save his family, a farm boy sells himself, nudge nudge wink wink—but Docile follows through on that premise to its deepest roots and its most satisfying conclusion. Docile is an absolute feast.” —Cecilia Tan

“A powerful, complex story that explores the dark consequences of a future with inherited debt. Docile is unflinching in its examination of class and wealth disparity while remaining a compelling and emotionally nuanced story.” —C.L. Polk

“K.M. Szpara’s dazzling debut is gripping, intricate, and sexy as hell. In these times of capitalistic dysfunction, his terrifying, debt-soaked future America is all too believable, and the characters—with all their flaws and complex desires— will linger with you long after the last page. I didn’t want to stop reading!” —JY Yang

“With unflinching empathy, Szpara explores the depths of love, complicity, and all the systems that bind us.” —Ruthanna Emrys