Shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers
1752. As winter approaches, two guilty secrets drive seventeen-year-old Agnes Trussel to run away from her home in rural Sussex. Pregnant with an unwanted child and carrying stolen coins, she is shocked by the squalor and poverty of London.
She finds work as an assistant to John Blacklock, a dark, laconic firework-maker. As her weaver’s fingers learn to make rockets, portfires, stars, fiery rain, she becomes intrigued by the glitter and roar of fireworks.
Soon she meets Cornelius Soul, seller of gunpowder, and hatches a plan which could save her. But why does Blacklock so vehemently disapprove of Mr Soul? And what is Blacklock hiding from her? Could he be on the brink of a discovery that will change pyrotechny forever?