From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times best-selling author of The Sherlockian, comes a thrilling novel - based on actual events - about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America.
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 lightbulb 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 onstage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he'll find that all in his path are playing their own games, and none are quite who they seem.
©2016 Graham Moore (P)2016 Random House Audio
"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. 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)
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
It's in the top twenty percent. It has all the major requirements of a great book. Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse are men who dominate their industries by force, as with Tom Edison, and with stick-tuitiveness, exemplified by Mr. Westinghouse. And our hero, the young lawyer Paul Cravath, attempts to mediate between these two giants, while simultaneously shielding the brilliant electrical engineer Nicola Tesla, a truly eccentric man. All the forces of a drama that grabs you are there, and the story is very well told.
I think that the fire which is clearly started by the fiery experiments of Mr. Tesla gone up in smoke is one of the best scenes in the book. No one understands how this happened, least of all Mr. Tesla. They believe that some workers on the roof accidentally started it. I am no fire investigator, but, I do know that fire travels up at the beginning of the fire, and then travels down when the fire runs out of material at the top of the building. Tesla is such a gentle, awkward genius, that one just does not want him to have accidents that kill people. The opening scene of a wire worker putting both hands on two wires, and thus completing the circuit which will promptly fry him: this surely gets your attention.
No I haven't, so I can't compare him to any other narrators. He certainly does a fine job here. The kid-glove gentility in which the Paul-and-Agnes relationship is told, reveals some of the depth of Mr. McClain's skills. One keeps rooting for them. They both lead lonely lives, despite the fact that Agnes has been forcefully pushed to New York stardom and celebrity status, while Paul comes to New York with a Tennessee background, and a cool, distant father. Mr. McClain is quite able to communicate the many unsaid words that pass between the couple. You care enough about these (fictional) people to actually want them to be happy, and together. Very sweet, and a nice contrast to the vicious fighting that Edison and Westinghouse engage in every day.
No. I liked it enough to recommend it to most Audible readers. I don't say that too often, as many of the books that I review are thrillers, and I know that many readers, particularly women (sorry, sorry for my un-PC remark) just don't like them. My wife doesn't even like to see thrillers in the movie theaters at night: she says that the movies give her the creeps.
Nope. I can't imagine that Mr. Moore has another book that is anything similar to this one, but I promise him and you that I will keep me eyes out for it. This man can write. Count on it.
Compelling story-telling, well delivered in audio! I'm not much of a history buff, which lends great support to Moore's rendering significant pieces of history into a page turning (audio equivalent) novel. Fascinating dip into the world of lawyers, scientists and businessmen. Transcends it's point in time in history.
I was very pleased Moore included a final chapter clarifying what facts he wove into this telling. It was so engaging I began Googling bits halfway through, attempting to sleuth out fact from fiction. So thank you, Mr. Moore, for saving me the trouble. We'll done indeed!
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
What makes a book great? Is it its characters, dialogue, plot, humor, drama? In most cases I would say the characters because relationships best suit my personality. But here is an historical novel about the war over the light bulb featuring 3 great inventors, Edison, Westinghouse and Tesler, told through the eyes of a young attorney. To be sure the characters are as fascinating here as they were in real life. But what makes this novel so intriguing to me is its appeal to my curiosity.
I have been scouring historical journals and reading all I can to learn more about these men and others in their age of invention. Alexander Bell plays a small, but key role in the story as well. Graham Moore's account of Bell was so charasmatic that I am drawn to read of him soon.
The main character is Paul Kravath, a 27 year old attorney, just 17 months out of Columbia Law School. In real life, as in the novel, he is hired to represent George Westinghouse to defend his company from over 300 lawsuits filed by Thomas Edison for patent infringements over the light bulb. Much is at stake, not the least of which is who will bring electrical power to the entire United States. Within the suit, the quest for harnessing and distributing power, and the business acumen and ethics of those involved lie real mysteries and much intrigue. Certainly as much as any good mystery novel.
If its history doesn't interest you, the suspense and drama certainly will entertain. It is well read by Johnathan McClain.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
Wow! this was a GREAT listen! It is a wonderful collage of fact woven with just enough fiction to create a mesmerizing story that takes place at the turn of the century -- just when technological inventions by Edison, Westinghouse, Buckminster Fuller and others were peaking. The major issues at play are the invention (perfection) of the light bulb and the introduction of AC electricity (as opposed to DC.) Which will the world adopt? Which is safest? Which inventor(s) will profit from this adoption?
The story revolves around the conflict(s) between Edison, Westinghouse and Nikoli Tesla. Young lawyer Paul Cravath (who ultimately founded NYC based mega-firm Cravath, Swain and Moore) is tasked with arbitrating the disputes and in the process, creates the template for today's law firm structures, where associates do the work under the auspices of a partner. There is quite a lot of crafty, inventive legal work within the action.
What makes this production of the book even better is the author's insertion of quotes by more contemporary technological gurus (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.) at the beginning of most new chapters that relate very closely to the events that transpired 100 years ago.
The narration is superb, the story line one that will keep you listening. Be certain to listen to the author's notes at the end of the book where he clearly discusses the "fiction" he added to historical fact in order to create this novel.
Great listen! Highly recommended for all lovers of good historical fiction.
Wonderful use of fact to create an engaging novel. Real people, true events and a fascinating story about America's Age Of Invention.
An omnivorous fiction reader, I'm totally flummoxed by folks who " don't have time" to read for the helluva it. Prescription? Audible!
The light bulb? Really? A resounding, "Yes!" to "The Last Days of Night." Genius, hubris, vaulting ambition, scandal all tidily presented through primarily historical characters, plus a few I'd never heard (but feel I should have), plus a few fictional creations Moore totally fleshed out. Hang with it through the "Afterwards" to appreciate the scope and depth of Moore's research behind this astounding novel. Also kudos to narrator McClain - masterful. I'm enormously stingy with five star reviews, but this one came "this close." A credit well-spent - go for it!
Last Days of Night is an engaging amalgamation of Naivete, ego, mania, money and the frailty of the human mind. Weave inside historical tidbits about creating the concept of the commercial electrical application and service. Audible brings it alive.
This was a terrific book based on the topic and its ability to flesh out a time period and characters not well known to us except by name and reputation. The author made the connections to this era and the great change agents in technology from our time which added another dimension. I wouldn't say this was the best written book around, but it was so interesting to learn about the machinations going on around things we now take for granted, I would recommend this book to anybody. You certainly don't need any special knowledge or even an interest in technology or science to enjoy it. I'll have to let others say how it reads if one does have a background in that area.
As a patent attorney, I thoroughly enjoyed this dramatization of one of the most famous patent infringement cases. I appreciated the author's note outlining what was based in fact and where the author's creativity filled in the blanks. IMO, worth the credit.
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