K.M. Szpara's First, Become Ashes is a fantasy standalone adventure that explores self-discovery after trauma and outgrowing abusive origins over the course of an American road trip.
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.
For thirty years, the Fellowship of the Anointed isolated its members, conditioning them to believe that pain is power. That magic is suffering. That the world beyond the fence has fallen prey to monsters. But when their leader is arrested, all her teachings come into question.
Those touched by the Fellowship face a choice: how will they adjust to the world they were taught to fear, and how will they relate to the cult's last crusader, Lark? For Kane, survival means rejecting the magic he and his lover suffered for. For Deryn, the cult's collapse is an opportunity to prove they are worth as much as their Anointed brother. For Calvin, Lark is the alluring embodiment of the magic he's been seeking his entire life.
But for Lark, the Fellowship isn’t over. Before he can begin to discover himself and heal a lifetime of traumas, he has a monster to slay.
About the Author
K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD, with a small dog and long cat. He is the author of speculative novels such as FIRST, BECOME ASHES (2021), DOCILE (2020), and a third that will follow up on his Hugo and Nebula nominated novelette, "Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time." They're about cults and trauma, consent and debt, and a horny trans vampire, respectively. His short fiction appears in Tor.com, Uncanny, Lightspeed, and more. You can find himme on the Internet at kmszpara.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @kmszpara.
“Not a lot of writers are able to tackle trauma and healing without flinching; K. M. Szpara is one of those. I'll be keeping an eye on this writer from here on!” —N. K. Jemisin
“Szpara has an amazing gift for immersing us in a world of exploitation and unbearable tenderness, and making it feel familiar and inescapable.” —Charlie Jane Anders on Docile
“An unflinching examination of class and bleakest capitalism. Brilliant. Properly chilling.” —Stoya on Docile
“If you're not careful, this disturbing, sexy, disturbingly sexy book will infect your brain.” —Sam J. Miller on Docile