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Publisher Description

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.


“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

Fiction & Literature
August 16
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

mrandy m ,


Great, gripping read! Great story about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to wire America and the young lawyer Paul Cravath’s role in this epic struggle. This novel has everything and it is indeed a page turner. It’s historical fiction so don’t think it’s a Wikipedia account of what happened. The story is rooted in fact with some fanciful license taken by the author; but all in all the book is great fun and highly recommended.

Jim Cunningham ,

Work of Fiction

This book is loosely based on a true story and reads like a formulaic Hollywood screenplay. The characters are all real, but the timeline is compressed, the dialogues made up (and terrible), and sometimes entire events are imagined. Normally, after seeing a movie based on a book, you would say, "the book is better," but this book is so painfully contrived and obviously designed for the movies that you can see entire chapters play out on the screen. And I mean that in as an insult. The author goes well beyond dramatizing historical events to overtly making up scenes and meetings that never occurred. I'd rather read what actually happened and then let screen writers dramatize the events. This is a terrible book and I would in no way recommend it.

bioron ,

Last Days of Night

Wonderful read about three great inventors . Fiction but seemed very close to reality!

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