Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

If you think a book about the "War of  Currents" over A/C vs D/C between Westinghouse and Edison and the disputed patent for the light bulb would be boring you would be dead wrong. Throw in the eccentric genius Nikola Tesla, powerful banker J. P. Morgan, a young up and coming lawyer named Paul Cravath, and a love interest in the form of a beautiful Metropolitan Opera singer with a shady past--does it still sound boring?

Graham Moore's historical fiction novel The Last Days of Night is a rollicking good read. I enjoyed every page, and the pages flew by very fast.

In 1888 the 20th c was being invented: electric lights, the telephone, moving pictures, x-rays. Invention as pure research was Tesla's love, but for Westinghouse and Edison the legal battle over the patent for the light bulb would determine the future of their business.

Paul Cravath obsessively works to defeat Edison's law suites against Westinghouse. He stops at nothing, not even for love. Convoluted twists, intrigue, and shady dealings enliven the story.

And you will learn solid history and even (gasp) how direct and alternate electric power differs. It becomes evident when A/C current fails to kill in the 1890 first use of an electric chair.

The people and events are all based on history, with a little tweaking. Moore nicely includes his sources for the novel's events.

Graham Moore wrote the award winning adaptation screenplay for The Imitation Game.

The movie rights have been sold. The book is so graphically drawn I can just picture it playing out as a movie. I for one can't wait!

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Read more about Edison vs Westinghouse at Smithsonian.com

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
 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

The Last Days of Night
Graham Moore
Random House
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
$28 hard cover
ISBN:9780812988901