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Peek Inside From the Ashes

The villain known as Spark has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve
By Xen

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Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father’s inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford–antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias’s hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean–or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?

Previously released under the Ever After imprint. New material and now novel length!


"Everyone! This is an amazing story. A true must read!" - author, Kira Decker

"Fans of this author will notice that this book is a bit of a different writing style than we have seen in other works. That isn't a bad thing! I was grabbed right away by the back story and then had to sit down and read this one straight through." - Suzi from Obsessive Reading Disorder

"From the Ashes is a fantastical tale, but the beauty of this novel lies in that feeling of familiarity, whether in a character or the story itself. And maybe, by the end, it'll give you something to really think about. From the Ashes receives five-plus stars. ♥" - Jen Valencia, Amazon review

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781633757776
Series: Fires of Redemption, Book 1
Release Date: Jan 2, 2017
Page Count: 239
Imprint: amara next
Genre: lgbtq, sci-fi, urban fantasy
Tropes: forbidden love/off limits, opposites attract, overcoming odds

Select Featured Reviews

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By Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ January 31, 2017


That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book. The writing style is both emotive and evocative qualities that I found very satisfying. Sanders puts sentences together in clever and beautiful ways that put you in this world immediately.

I give him pieces of myself, as if on

By DarienMoya March 26, 2018


A man that feels nothing and one that feels too much…

Tobias Rutherford just seems like a normal graduate researcher. He’s unassuming, antisocial and draws no attention. Which works in his favour, because who he is really would scare the ever living hell out of those that surround him. He is ...more

By Nicola January 01, 2017

I love a book that has me perched on the edge of my seat, and Xen Sanders hits the ground running with From the Ashes , bringing us a paranormal M/M story, told from the protagonists POV, with diverse characters and filled with the unpredictable, action, passion, intimacy and emotion.


Tobias Rutherf ...more

By Mir June 13, 2020

I picture Tobias' father as Raul Julia playing Bison.

Only Thai, I guess. Or did he just conquer Thailand? Who is the Thai Raul Julia?

Anyway, Infernus Blaze is not laughable, aside from his costume and posturing speeches. But neither was Bison, actually. The audience may find him risable, but there's ...more

By Mandapanda September 17, 2012

Great m/m urban fantasy with a slight super-hero bent. Ever since the advent of genetic modification of human foetuses, some babies have been born with the aberrant gene. This strips them of emotion at the same time as it gives them dangerous powers. The battle between Aberrants and humans is coming ...more

By Vio October 03, 2012

4.5 stars
An excellent urban fantasy, it surprised me a lot and what a page turner. Tobias is a fascinating, complex character and even when this cold blooded killer is talking death I felt for him. I loved his voice, compelling and believable it's the struggle and soul searching he goes through that ...more

By Ami September 29, 2012

The blurb is good enough for a "recap" and can help me to remember things; so I am just going straight to my opinion ...

I would never know about this story, if not for MandyM posting her review and it appeared on my timeline. At first, I wonder whether I could feel sympathy for a serial killer. In t ...more

By Joy (joyous reads) September 23, 2012

This was amazing. How the author managed to cram so much in such a slight novel and not leave any stone unturned is truly a feat not a lot of writers can achieve. The author endeavoured (and was successful) to write a full story in a novella that did not leave his readers feeling gypped. Oh and it h ...more

By Susan September 16, 2012

I just put this book down and thought to myself: "That was so much fun!"

"From the Ashes" is basically X-men w/ a M/M romance in the backdrop. It's about a mutant population (aberrants) and the humans who fear them. (Sound familiar?) The prince of the aberrants, Blaze/Tobias, lives among the humans ( ...more

By Kira September 19, 2012

Where do I start. This story was amazing! The sparks that fly between Tobias and Sean reach out and steal the wind out of your lungs. The anti-hero who you root for is a hard character to write, but Adrien-Luc Sanders does it to perfection.

Too often novellas leave you wanting more. The only thing Fr ...more

By Laxmama December 13, 2016

4.25 STARS. I received this ARC from NETGALLEY, I went into this story not knowing anything other than enjoying the Xen Sanders last book. Great addicting read, I was so caught up, wonderfully done & look forward to more. ...more

By Bev January 01, 2019

Really liked this one, a very welcome freebie from the author [whose other work I am now stalking...😉] but a story for which I would've gladly shelled out money....had I known about it. 😊 I love all things X-Men and Superhero, and the anti-hero in this one, Tobias aka Spark, is a very complex chara ...more

By Mandi January 09, 2017

First of all, I really liked this book. Before I get into it though, let me say it is a rerelease from a book titled, From the Ashes by Adrien-Luc Sanders released in 2012.

The blurb completely drew me into this one:

Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The

By Fenriz April 05, 2018

Torn between "I liked it" "I really liked it", let it be the latter.

Again...i went in the book without reading the blurb, so i didn't know what was this exactly about, until i read "latex suit" and "powers" i realized this was a book about superheroes, like X-Men with the fight over races, etc. Coo ...more

By Joseph February 25, 2018

Loved it. Writing so beautiful it reads like poetry. Just stunning! ...more

By Buffy September 13, 2012

One of those rare books that I got so caught up in that I forgot to breathe. More than once. Loved it. Enough said. ...more

This is a really good story. Im not big on pnr and sci fi books but this one i liked. It took me long because im busy with remodeling our new house but that wasnt the Book. I read this Book for the Reading challenge of the amazing group turning pages at midnight. It was my last one. I loved Tobias. ...more

By Santy February 06, 2017

This is my second Xen Sanders book and since I loved Shatterproof , I was raring to go when I saw this.

This story/book? It. Was . Intense.

It's set in a world where we have a subset of people with genes that differentiates them from plain humans. These people are called Aberrants and they have great ...more

This felt pretty epic. It also touched all the feels! Omg, I mean, it was like reading an X-man movie with all the fighting and heroics. But it was also very vulnerable. Although, the author drove the point across one too many times, that as an aberrant,
Tobias felt like he couldn’t have feelings or ...more

By Rafa January 10, 2017

Another fantastic antihero by Xen Sanders/Cole McCade. If you like superheroes, and particularly complex, broody supervillains who are struggling to find love and humanity within themselves, look no further. Tobias offers a fascinating look into the mind of a so-called monster, and Sean is the perfe ...more

By Alycia September 08, 2012

I love this story. LOVE. Novellas are difficult because they are so short but I felt this one was perfect and I was never left feeling like I didn't get enough story. Tobias is such an interesting character--he's an anti-hero and an all around bad guy. He has trouble feeling emotions like normal peo ...more

By Td September 24, 2012

This was not at all what I was expecting, it was much better. I was immediately drawn in by Tobias' voice and his story. Thanks to MandyM's for coming to the rescue with yet another wonderful review. Take a look for more details. ...more

By Ellie January 24, 2017

Wow! Paranormal mm romance with an anti-hero I couldn't love more!

This story is such an unusual read and I enjoyed it so much. It's Xen Sanders' second book, and in a way there are some similarities with Shatterproof which I also loved.

We have Tobias, a dark and broody antihero, supervillan who hide ...more

By Pianka *call me PIU* December 24, 2016

“From the Ashes” is the second mutant/genetically enhanced individual trope that I read this year and I was very impressed with how the author delves into the gray areas rather than sticking to the black and white. This book is dark and quite intense especially when one of the MCs is actually the vi ...more

By Kerry September 19, 2012

This is a tightly and beautifully written novella. Sanders is not afraid to craft characters who are not mainstream - Tobias is a brown, gay, villanous superhero who still manages to escape fitting any sort of stereotype. As a "straight" reader, I still found the m/m love scenes moving and steamy an ...more

Showing 1 to 25 of 25
3.88 avg rating

About the author


Xen is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing in Seattle. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. He wavers between calling himself bisexual and calling himself queer, but no matter what word he uses he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA representation and visibility in genre fiction. He also writes contemporary romance and erotica as Cole McCade. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can sometimes coax him to come out and play for a Twitter party before he disappears into his hamster ball again.

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