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The Last Days of Night
Cover of The Last Days of Night
The Last Days of Night
A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • "A world of invention and skulduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla."—Erik Larson

"A model of superior historical fiction . . . an exciting, sometimes astonishing story."—The Washington Post

From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling 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 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.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
"A satisfying romp . . . Takes place against a backdrop rich with period detail . . . Works wonderfully as an entertainment . . . As it charges forward, the novel leaves no dot unconnected."—Noah Hawley, The New York Times Book Review
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • "A world of invention and skulduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla."—Erik Larson

"A model of superior historical fiction . . . an exciting, sometimes astonishing story."—The Washington Post

From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling 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 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.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
"A satisfying romp . . . Takes place against a backdrop rich with period detail . . . Works wonderfully as an entertainment . . . As it charges forward, the novel leaves no dot unconnected."—Noah Hawley, The New York Times Book Review
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About the Author-
  • Graham Moore is the New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian and the Academy Award–winning screenwriter for The Imitation Game, which also won a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Moore was born in Chicago, received a B.A. in religious history from Columbia University in 2003, and now lives in Los Angeles.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 18, 2016
    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.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2016
    The great tech innovators of the '90s--that's the 1890s--posture, plot, and even plan murder in this business book-turned-costume drama.In the late 19th century, as Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse began wiring America for electricity, the titans locked horns over which electrical standard would prevail--AC or DC--in a struggle that came to be known as the "War of the Currents." Novelist (The Sherlockian, 2010) and screenwriter (The Imitation Game, 2014) Moore chops up and rearranges a decade's worth of events, squeezes them into two years, adds a few crimes, and serves the result up in a lively if unsurprising legal thriller. He tells the story from the point of view of Paul Cravath, the young attorney charged with defending Westinghouse against a potentially devastating patent suit brought by Edison. The key to winning, Cravath decides, is to get Nikola Tesla--the mad scientist to end all mad scientists--to invent a better lightbulb. Subtle this isn't. A devastating lab fire! An inexplicable disappearance! A beautiful diva with a mysterious past! An attempted murder! An electrocuted dog! The characters mug and posture like actors in a silent film with dramatic captions: "She turned her glare to Westinghouse. 'You're a co-conspirator in this villainy?' " Tesla, a Serbian, talks funny: "My accent is wide. Perhaps you have been noticing." Eventually, inspired by the innovative business practices of Westinghouse and Edison, Cravath invents the 20th-century law firm and wins the hand of the lady. The real-life events of the War of the Currents are exciting enough without embroidery. Still, readers who care more about atmosphere than accuracy will enjoy this breezy melodrama.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2016
    An Academy Award-winning screenwriter ("The Imitation Game") and "New York Times" best-selling author ("The Sherlockian"), Moore fictionalizes Thomas Edison's efforts to eliminate rival George Westinghouse through an enormous lawsuit.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Last Days of Night
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