*I received this book from the publisher in exchanged for an honest review.*
Title: The Last Days of Night
Author: Graham Moore
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
It wasn’t surprising to me that this thrilling 19th-century thrilling race to invention is written by the same writer who brought us The Imitation Game. The voice and unfolding of this story is so reminiscent of the movie staring Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s refreshing to read an exciting historical fiction that takes place at the cusp of the 20th-century, during the period of incredible minds and unbelievable transitions in technology.
Moore’s story brings together the greatest minds of the 1890s: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse. These men of invention are part of the great technological race. Who can harness the electricity and bring it to the whole of society. They are part of a period of time that will change everything for humanity. At the heart of this brutal race is lawyer Paul Cravath. At the beginning of his career he is chosen to defeat the undefeatable.
Paul’s romance is a side story that’s not entirely necessary, but it adds something that the reading public loves. The love interest, Agnes Huntington, is full of secrets and surprises of her own making her an must more intricate and three dimensional character. Paul is frequently described as a prodigy in the field of law, a fact which after finishing the book, I have yet to believe. He’s a strong character, but there are a few characters attributes, such as his ability to succeed, that I would have like to see fleshed out a bit more.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It’s different than a lot of the other stories I’ve seen coming out this year, and that in itself is a very pleasant surprise. Moore writes an excellent story that is vivid. He paints a bright picture of the 19th-century, bringing his characters and his story to life.