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New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?
The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs.How will he do it?
In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.
Advance praise for "The Last Days of Night"
Mesmerizing, clever, and absolutely crackling, "The Last Days of Night" is a triumph of imagination. Graham Moore has chosen Gilded Age New York as his playground, with outsized characters Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse as his players. The result is a beautifully researched, endlessly entertaining novel that will leave you buzzing. Gillian Flynn, author of "Gone Girl"
In "The Last Days of Night," Graham Moore takes us back to the dawn of light electric light into a world of invention and skulduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, and the novel s hero, a young lawyer named Paul Cravath (a name that will resonate with ambitious law students everywhere). It s part legal thriller, part tour of a magical time the age of wonder and once you ve finished it, you ll find it hard to return to the world of now. Erik Larson, author of "The Devil in the White City"
"The Last Days of Night" is a wonder, a riveting historical novel that is part legal thriller, part techno-suspense. This fast-paced story about the personal and legal clash over the invention of the light bulb is a tale of larger-than-life characters and devious doings, and a significant meditation on the price we as a society pay for new technology. . . . Thoughtful and hugely entertaining. Scott Turow"
From our buyer, Margaret Terwey: "In The Last Days of Night, Graham Moore fictionalizes Thomas Edison's efforts to eliminate rival George Westinghouse. The setting is Gilded Age New York, characters include Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla. The Last Days of Night is a fast paced legal thriller and riveting historical fiction."
- ISBN-13: 9780812988901
- ISBN-10: 0812988906
- Publisher: Random House
- Publish Date: August 2016
- Page Count: 384
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Moore (The Sherlockian), again turning to historical events for the basis of a thrilling plot, tackles the “war of the currents,” which pitted Thomas Edison against George Westinghouse in a turn-of-the-century New York legal battle. Fresh out of Columbia Law School, Paul Cravath is trained in research and dealing with concrete facts; he is not used to being at the center of a billion-dollar lawsuit, but that is exactly where he finds himself after agreeing to work with George Westinghouse. The two inventors become locked in a back-and-forth legal dispute after Thomas Edison claims he invented the light bulb and sues Westinghouse, who then issues a countersuit against Edison for violating Westinghouse’s own patent. At the heart of the matter is determining who invented the light bulb and whether or not the patent covers all forms of the bulb. Paul hopes to win the case by enlisting the help of Nikola Tesla, but that proves to be a much more unruly prospect than he initially expected, as the eccentric man agrees to help but brings with him new challenges. Amid the bickering of the iconic characters, Paul ends up emerging as the emotional center, trying to hold strands of the case together and stay true to his own moral standards. While the plot starts off slowly, the tempo picks up as events within the court begin to unfold. Moore’s extensive research is apparent, and readers are likely to walk away from the book feeling as informed as they are entertained. (Sept.)