Brilliance by Anthony McCarten.

Brilliance by Anthony McCarten.Brilliance_by_Anthony_McCarten

(Alma Books, 21th March 2012.)

Short of money, the inventor Thomas Edison is captivated by the charismatic figure of J.P. Morgan, the “world’s banker”. Accepting Morgan’s glittering offer of almost unlimited cash in return for helping the man change the way the world does business, Edison sees himself descend from being the godlike inventor of electric light to being complicit in the invention of the electric chair. Ever more enmeshed in Morgan’s personal life, he becomes infatuated by a world of privilege and power, where duty and desire, faith and immorality are thrown into conflict, ultimately threatening his own spiritual and creative survival.


This is not a book I would have independently picked up off the shelf. It’s more my husband’s type of book. However, I was hooked on this story from the moment I turned the first page. It gives a “fictional based on some fact” account of Thomas Edison and his relationship with JP Morgan and how each man affected the other. The plot was interesting. It jumps around a little between past and present but it’s done clearly and the story moves along well despite the jumping between eras.

It’s shocking in places, funny in others and I did find myself really feeling for Thomas Edison. It’s a great fictional story based on a real man (hard to do in my opinion.) I found JP Morgan and Edison frustrating at times. I didn’t like Morgan much but I’m not sure whether I was meant to.

Overall, a great book and one that crept up on me and surprised me. If you have the chance to read it, especially if, like me, it’s not your “usual” type of book, don’t count it out. For me, it was a great book. Brilliance was released on 21st March 2012 and is available now from Alma.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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