The Last Days of Night

"On the day he would first meet Thomas Edison, Paul watched a man burn alive in the sky above Broadway."

With that opening line, Graham Moore (The Sherlockian) clearly establishes that The Last Days of Night, which details the protracted battles between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to electrify the United States in the late 19th century, is no dull scientific report.

Paul Cravath is a Columbia Law prodigy who became partner at a law firm at the age of 26. Problem is, he has no clients. Imagine his surprise, then, when inventor Westinghouse handpicks Paul to defend him against Edison's lawsuits that claim Westinghouse's light bulbs infringe upon Edison's patent. Cravath devises clever strategies, including recruiting eccentric Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla to create a bulb for Westinghouse that would be completely different from Edison's.

No matter how many brilliant moves Cravath comes up with, however, Edison is always one step ahead. When a disaster occurs that sets back Tesla, Cravath realizes that Edison will stop at nothing to squash his opponent, and Cravath could lose not only the case but his life, too.

This well-researched historical novel is about the invention of the light bulb, the nascent days of electricity and patent law--and Moore makes it all fascinating. Last Days is a cerebral thriller, full of twists, legal maneuverings and courtroom drama, peppered with idealistic do-gooders and intimidating villains. Cravath is described as a wunderkind, and based on Moore's skills and accomplishments, including winning an Oscar at age 33 for writing The Imitation Game screenplay, it seems Moore is one as well. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

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