Drawn in Ash


The Dynasty claims to be a veritable paradise, where a multitude of races live in peace and harmony. Everys knows better. The Dynasty has been broken since it was founded, with the human nobility oppressing many of the peoples they’ve brutally conquered, including her own. As an illegal mage, Everys hides in a rundown corner of the capital city, running her family’s electronics repair shop, afraid to risk her life to stand against the injustice. But then she brought to the palace and forced to marry King Narius, the descendant of the tyrant who destroyed her people’s homeland, and she realizes this might be the chance she’s been waiting for to make things right.

Due to sacred law, Narius must marry to legitimize his reign. Forced to marry for political gain, he cannot marry the woman he actually loves, so he must settle for another. Unfortunately, the young woman he chose seems determined to cause him nothing but trouble, jeopardizing his plans to bring the Dynasty into a more prosperous future.

Thrown together by circumstances they can’t control, Everys and Narius must set aside old grudges and painful legacies to forge an uneasy partnership before the Dynasty’s enemies destroy everything they hold dear.


“Otte swings big with this science-fantasy epic of resistance, a false utopia, oppressed beliefs, and a touch of royal romance. The wealth of themes, characters, crises, and intriguing connections to the story of Esther means that, despite brisk scenecraft, the length is epic, with much to keep track of—the story can feel dense when it covers scheming and geopolitics. Still, Otte has created a compelling protagonist whose relationships with both her god and her husband prove rich and rewarding. Seasoned fans of dystopian adventures, especially with underpinnings of biblical allegory, will find much to savor here.” ~ Booklife Review (Publishers Weekly)

“Drawn in Ash is an exciting science fiction and fantasy tale whose heroine’s struggles reflect the eternal importance of cultural respect and tolerance. With tensions and uncertainty woven throughout its pages, Drawn in Ash is a fantastical novel featuring magic, technology, and a determined heroine.”~Vivian Turnbull, Foreword Reviews

“Otte’s worldbuilding is impeccable. Readers will recognize familiar fantasy elements in these faraway lands, such as feuding kingdoms and astounding feats of magic. But there are just as many guns as swords, along with technology (digital scribers and identity scanners) and aircraft (cloud skimmers). A likable and indelible woman leads the cast; Everys’ benevolence is an unmistakably genuine trait… A kindhearted and capable hero headlines this engaging magic tale.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“You could read Drawn in Ash purely as entertainment and it would be an enjoyable, compelling ride. But slow down just enough and you’ll see how Otte has drawn from our current cultural moment, using both a futuristic setting and ancient biblical symbolism, to show how all of human history is caught up in the issues facing Everys, Narius, and the world in which they live. It’s about America. It’s about ancient Babylon. It’s about race relations, reparations, colonialism, and community. It’s about war and peace, religion and politics, diplomacy and radicalism.

Otte balances all of these themes perfectly, weaving them into a cohesive narrative tapestry—a true work of art that undergirds the action and mythology of the story. John Otte has created a fully-realized world that mirrors our own, allowing us to explore all of these difficult topics in a fresh way that’s free from the familiarity and bias of reality. That’s what the very best fiction does. It allows to explore reality in ways we can’t explore within reality. We think, we learn, we grow in this fictional world, then we return to our reality with a new perspective.

Drawn in Ash is absolutely captivating—the best sci-fi I’ve read in a long time. From the first page to the last, John Otte had me entranced. I don’t know where the story is going, but I’m in it to the very end.” ~ Josh Olds, lifeisstory.com

Available through: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Drawn in Ash

Cover art by Kirk DuPounce of DogEared Design

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