The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore

ampoule-électricité

 


The Last Days of Night

by Graham Moore
Editor: SIMON & SCHUSTER UK
September 2016

 

 

 

 

The author

Graham Moore is an American writer and scriptwriter. As a scriptwriter, he gained in 2015 the prize of Best scenario for the movie The Imitation Game, realized by Morten Tyldum. This movie is an adaptation of Andrew Hodges novel  Alan Turing or the riddle of the intelligence.

If you like riddles, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, you will appreciate his first novel, 221b Baker Street, publisheded in January 2012 for the French translation. The last days of night is his second novel.

The story

New York, 1888.
Cities are still lighted by gas streetlights. Thomas Edison, who applied for the patent of the incandescent light bulb a few years before, came into conflict with George Westinghouse, engineer and entrepreneur, also making bulbs with the ambition of being different from those of Edison.

Both men fight to take control of the distribution of the electricity, and so, make a fortune. Westinghouse then hires a young lawyer, Paul Cravath, to defend his interests. The result is a judicial duel, a patent war, and a cascade of new developments. But appearances can be deceptive….

Nikola Tesla, the brilliant inventor, still unknown at this moment of the story, begins to work for Edison. Paul Cravath, brilliant but inexperienced, will do his best to understand the three men of science, Edison the inventor who loves the public, Westinghouse the perfectionist, and Tesla, the man with the brilliant ideas, the one who imagines and who creates.

My opinion

I Like very much this period of scientific and technical discoveries in the 19th century, for its profusion of ideas and passionate researches.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, people began to understand the electric phenomena. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin realized his famous kite experiment to establish the relation between lightning and electricity. His discovery led to the invention of the lightning conductor.

Throughout the 19th century, numerous experiments followed one another, and ended in the big discoveries of electromagnetism and electric machines. This is the way the first electric engines appeared, as well as electric lighting, telegraph, telephone, record player, and the first planes…

Graham Moore relied on historic documents to offer us this fascinating story. The main characters are people who really existed. History and fiction are blended.

I have liked this book a lot for its numerous developments, endearing characters, especially Nicolas Tesla, particularly emotional, and the mixture between history and fiction that makes the story even more thrilling. Every chapter begins with an interesting and well chosen quote.

We look sometimes for so long at a door which closes that we forget to see the one who is opened.

Alexander Graham Bell

An electric novel that I definitely recommend to you!

Thalie

Praise

‘A model of superior historical fiction . . . Graham Moore digs deep into long-forgotten facts to give us an exciting, sometimes astonishing story of two geniuses locked in a brutal battle to change the world. . .[A] brilliant journey into the past’

The Washington Post

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