The explosion hurled me backward a good five yards. It was surely a new record, though I'd never kept track of such things.
Pure luck landed me in the vegetable garden instead of the rose bed. The last time I experimented with nitrostarch, Won Li, my Chinese patron, had to fetch a ladder and pluck me from the leafy arms of an elm tree.
Splinters fell like rain from the mare's tail clouds drifting above. I was just noticing how closely the embers resembled fireflies when an explosion of a different nature erupted.
"Josephine Beckworth Sawyer!" Won Li screeched my full name in practiced, perfect English. A...