The implications of providing light has shaped historical eras: crude lamps and tallow candles constricted waking hours and their meagre illumination restricted daily life, oil lamps led to the crazed hunting of whales for their oil while gaslight helped to create leisure hours in the evening and allowed the emergence of vibrant street life in cities. Now as the incandescent bulb is phased out how we light our homes and workplaces will change forever. Edison s invention of the lightbulb seemed to produce light that required no human effort or cost and yet, as Jane Brox shows, the environmental cost of that system of lighting is still with us. Jane Brox brilliantly explores how the technology behind artificial light has been the catalyst for industrialisation and consumerism yet it has also led to a disconnection from the natural rhythms of the earth. In the tradition of Mark Kurlansky s Cod in its reach and scope, Brilliant is a compelling story of how human lives have been changed by light and asks timely questions about how the light of the future will continue to shape our lives. Brilliant is full of the voices of those whose lives were revolutionised by artificial light over the centuries, containing insights into how science has directed human history and will continue to do so in the future.