Brought up in rural Sussex‚ seventeen-year-old Agnes Trussel is carrying an unwanted child. Taking advantage of the death of her elderly neighbour‚ Agnes steals her savings and runs away to London. On her way she encounters the intriguing Lettice Talbot who promises that she will help Agnes upon their arrival. But Agnes soon becomes lost in the dark‚ labyrinthine city. She ends up at the household of John Blacklock‚ laconic firework-maker‚ becoming his first female assistant.
The months pass and it becomes increasingly difficult for Agnes to conceal her secret. Soon she meets Cornelius Soul‚ seller of gunpowder‚ and hatches a plan which could save her from ruin. Yet why does John Blacklock so vehemently disapprove of Mr Soul? And what exactly is he keeping from her? Could the housekeeper‚ Mrs Blight‚ with her thirst for accounts of hangings‚ suspect her crime or condition?
Historical fiction at its very best‚ THE BOOK OF FIRES utterly intriguing‚ completely compelling and impossible to put down.