The book is a prequel to my first novel To Rule the Skies, although I think of it more as just coming first chronologically. It follows the main character from my previous novel, Nicodemus Boffin, from his boyhood to about a decade before the events in To Rule the Skies.
Nicodemus Boffin, a uncommonly clever boy growing up in the ash heaps of East London, reaches the pinnacles of British science when he is mentored by the great scientist, Michael Faraday. When Nicodemus finds a secret laboratory notebook in which Faraday has described incomprehensible experiments, he wonders if his mentor has discovered a new science, or lost his faculties. Nicodemus’s rival, Viscount Whitehall-Barnes, seeks to gain the notebook by any means necessary to study the descriptions of a strange orange mineral with unusual properties similar to the alchemists’ Philosopher’s Stone. Realizing that the Viscount must never learn the secrets of the orange stone, Nicodemus strives to keep the knowledge hidden, protect his family, and preserve the legacy of his mentor.