My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This novel is essentially about patent litigation, but it is a page-turner filled with fascinating characters, romance, intrigue, and corporate espionage. The setting is New York (mostly) at an amazing time in history.
"The trotting horses carried them up Broadway, past quiet Houston and the fashionable row houses of Fourteenth Street. The island was dark until they made the turn onto Fifth. Suddenly the electric lamps that lit the avenue became visible. The vast majority of New York streets were lit at night by coal gas, the same flickering light that had illuminated the city for a hundred years. But recently a handful of wealthy business owners had been able to outfit their buildings with these new electrical bulbs. Just a few streets contained something like 99 percent of the electricity in America, and their names were well known: Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Thirty-fourth Street. Every day these blocks grew a shade brighter as another building was wired for current. The high-strung cables formed a fortress around each block. Paul looked up Fifth Avenue and saw progress." (p. 9)According to the author's note the people are mostly real as are the broad events which are known as the "current war." George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla are the main players and the story is told by Paul Cravath, a very young lawyer who basically invented the modern law firm.
"As an attorney, the tales that Paul told were moral ones. There existed, in his narratives, only the injured and their abusers. The slandered and the liars. The swidled and the thieves. Paul constructed these characters painstakingly until the righteousness of his plaintiff--or his defendant--became overwhelming. It was not the job of a litigator to determine facts; it was his job to construct a story from those facts by which a clear moral conclusion would be unavoidable." (p. 6)Moore also wrote The Sherlockian (which I liked but wasn't blown away by) and the screenplay for The Imitation Game.