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First, Become Ashes

Par / By K. M. Szpara


[FR] K. Après son premier roman explosif, Docile, K. M. Szpara publie First, Become Ashes, une fantastique aventure autonome qui explore la découverte de soi après un traumatisme et l’abandon d’origines abusives au cours d’un road trip américain.


[EN] K. M. Szpara follows his explosive debut novel Docile with First, Become Ashes, a fantastic standalone adventure that explores self-discovery after trauma and outgrowing abusive origins over the course of an American road trip.



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Le Fellowship a élevé Lark pour tuer des monstres.
Son partenaire les a trahis au profit des fédéraux.
Mais Lark sait que sa magie est réelle, et il est prêt à tout pour accomplir sa quête.

Pendant trente ans, la Communauté des Oints a isolé ses membres, les conditionnant à croire que la douleur est le pouvoir. Que la magie est la souffrance. Que le monde au-delà de la clôture est devenu la proie des monstres. Mais quand leur chef est arrêté, tous ses enseignements sont remis en question.

Ceux qui ont été touchés par le Fellowship sont confrontés à un choix : comment vont-ils s’adapter au monde qu’on leur a appris à craindre, et comment vont-ils se comporter avec le dernier croisé du culte, Lark ? Pour Kane, survivre signifie rejeter la magie pour laquelle lui et son amant ont souffert. Pour Deryn, l’effondrement de la secte est l’occasion de prouver qu’ils valent autant que leur frère oint. Pour Calvin, Lark est l’incarnation séduisante de la magie qu’il a cherchée toute sa vie.

Mais pour Lark, la fraternité n’est pas terminée. Avant de pouvoir commencer à se découvrir et à guérir toute une vie de traumatismes, il a un monstre à tuer.


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.

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Auteur.rice / Author

K.M. Szpara est un auteur queer et trans qui vit à Baltimore, MD, avec un petit chien et un long chat. Il est l’auteur de romans spéculatifs tels que FIRST, BECOME ASHES (2021), DOCILE (2020), et d’un troisième qui fera suite à sa novelette nommée aux prix Hugo et Nebula, “Small Changes Over Longs Periods of Time”. Ils traitent respectivement des cultes et des traumatismes, du consentement et de la dette, et d’un vampire trans excité. Ses nouvelles paraissent dans Tor.com, Uncanny, Lightspeed, etc. Vous pouvez le trouver sur Internet à kmszpara.com et sur Twitter et Instagram à @kmszpara.


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.


“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

“Szpara mixes trauma and magic to mesmerizing results.” —Publishers Weekly

“A timely tale about the dangers of committing too fervently and unquestioningly to a person and their cause.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A standalone about the complicated ways we cope with trauma, about balancing acceptance and truth, and about belief in its darkest and brightest forms.” —Booklist

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