"A spectacular debut" ( Booklist ) reminiscent of Geraldine Brook's Year of Wonders .
It is 1752, and seventeen-year-old Agnes Trussel is pregnant with an unwanted child. Facing certain misery at home, she flees rural Sussex for London. Overwhelmed by the crowded, grim streets, Agnes finds herself at the home of Mr. J. Blacklock, a brooding fireworks maker who hires her as an apprentice. As she learns to make joins his quest to make the most spectacular fireworks the world has ever seen. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on Agnes's secret-but her mysterious mentor is hatching plans of his own.