The Last Days of Night

I’ve always wondered how electricity came to be? I know it comes from power lines and generators, and power plants. But I’ve often wondered how it started, like how was life like when electricity was just starting out. When I watched Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige”, the names Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, along with some out of this world electrical rays were shown. However, it didn’t really give me an insight into a time when electricity was just starting out. In Graham Moore’s exciting new novel, “The Last Days of Night”, he brings us to a world yet to be electrified, when the words Westinghouse and Edison were synonymous to power, and only the rich and moneyed could afford such a privilege.

The year is 1887 and Paul Cravath is watching a lineman precariously set up new power lines along an avenue in New York. What follows, is an exciting journey and story into the “War of the Currents” between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison. The light bulb had just been invented and electricity is making its way across all America. However, Thomas Edison is at odds with George Westinghouse, over his light bulb patent. With his hands tied, Westinghouse seeks the help of Paul Cravath, founding partner of Hughs, Carter & Cravath law firm. Together, Paul mounts his legal offensive against the nefarious and devious schemes Thomas Edison throws at him. Working alongside Paul are Nikola Tesla and Agnes Huntington, together they try to outwit Thomas Edison and his deep pockets to try and win the War of the Currents.

Having heard of the War of Currents in a few books, it was fun learning all about it in this historical legal thriller. There were a lot of twists and turns that made the story exciting, it was fast-paced, and barely any dull moment. At the same time, Paul Cravath is a likable, if not naive, character who grows on you; while Edison’s characterization is a breath of fresh air, injecting a different element to an otherwise normally noble character.

In the end, Graham Moore has written an exciting novel based on real life events and people. His masterful storytelling was exciting and thrilling, his plot twists exciting and brilliant. I hope to read some more of Graham Moore’s work in the future.

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