'Have you ever heard the phrase The Seven Blessings?'
That question causes a man to die of shock, and propels Sally Lockhart into a desperate adventure that will expose the deepest secrets of the corrupt and murderous opium trade.
Sally is sixteen when the story begins, orphaned and alone. She's had an unconventional education: her knowledge of English Literature, French, History, Art and Music is non-existent, but she has a thorough grounding in military tactics, can run a business, ride like a Cossack and shoot straight with a pistol.
When her father is drowned in suspicious circumstances in the South China Sea, Sally soon finds herself in terrible danger too - and at the rotten heart of it all lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke.
THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE is now a major BBC TV adaptation starring Billie Piper, to be screened over Christmas 2006. This novel is the first in the Sally Lockhart Quartet; the second, THE SHADOW IN THE NORTH, is to follow the first as a BBC adaptation. The third and fourth titles in the series are THE TIGER IN THE WELL and THE TIN PRINCESS.