The Night Manager is an espionage novel by British writer John le Carré, published in 1993. It is his first post-Cold War novel, detailing an undercover operation to bring down a major international arms dealer.

The Night Manager
First edition
AuthorJohn le Carré
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreSpy fiction
PublisherHodder & Stoughton
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
823.914 L456
LC ClassPR6062.E33 L43 1993
Preceded byThe Secret Pilgrim 
Followed byOur Game 

Plot summary edit

Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier trained at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, is a night manager at the Hotel Meister Palace in Zurich. Richard Onslow Roper, a billionaire trafficker in arms and drugs, arrives with his entourage during a snowstorm. Pine bears a grudge against Roper from an incident which occurred years prior, in Cairo, where Pine was working as the night manager at the luxurious Queen Nefertiti hotel.

The owner of the Queen Nefertiti, Freddie Hamid, had ties to Roper. Hamid's mistress, Sophie, was a French-Arab woman who provided Pine with incriminating documents about Roper, asking him to forward them to the Egyptian authorities. Pine did so but disregarded her warning that Roper had ties to British intelligence. He forwarded copies to a friend with MI6, and a short time later, Sophie was murdered.

Several years later, Pine is working in Switzerland. He is approached by ex-SIS Chief Leonard Burr and senior civil servant Rex Goodhew, who are planning an elaborate sting operation against Roper. Eager to avenge Sophie, Pine agrees to go undercover to infiltrate Roper's criminal empire. The operation is jeopardised by an inter-agency turf war within the intelligence community and possible collusion with Roper.

Burr's operation, a joint effort between his group and sympathetic American colleagues, is code-named "Limpet." Pine fabricates a criminal identity and cover story, then wins Roper's confidence by "rescuing" his son from a phony kidnapping orchestrated by Burr. Roper recruits him into his organisation, in preparation for a large illegal arms deal with a Colombian drug cartel.

Unknown to Pine, the cartel's lawyer, Dr. Paul Apostoll, is an American "Limpet" informant. He explains to Burr that Roper has convinced the cartel to professionalise its armed forces to better protect itself against possible military intervention. Roper has agreed to supply the cartel with military-grade weaponry and training in exchange for a large shipment of cocaine.

Apostoll convinces Roper that his usual front man, Major Corkoran, is unreliable, forcing Roper to use Pine instead. Corkoran is convinced that Pine is a plant, but cannot find any proof. During his work for Roper, Pine gathers intelligence about his activities. He also falls in love with Roper's innocent English mistress, Jed.

Corrupt factions within both the CIA and British intelligence are profiting from the illegal arms trade and mount a counter-operation called "Flagship". They subtly threaten Goodhew, who backs off the case, and betray Apostoll's status as an informant to the cartels. Under torture, Apostoll reveals Pine's true identity to Roper, and is murdered. Pine is captured and tortured on Roper's yacht.

To save Pine, Burr contacts one of Roper's men, Sir Anthony Bradshaw, a corrupt English aristocrat, and bluffs that he has enough information to convict Roper and all of his associates. He tells Bradshaw that if Pine and Jed are released unharmed, he will likewise allow Roper to get away. Convinced by Burr's lies, Roper releases the two. Pine and Jed move in together at Pine's isolated cottage at the Lanyon, a few miles from Land's End.

Reception edit

Kirkus Reviews praised Le Carré's "mastery in the details"[1] A review in the Washington Post criticised the "story-book ending... The good guys don't win, but they don't lose either."[2]

Continuity edit

The Night Manager features the re-appearance of Harry Palfrey, the Legal Adviser to the British Secret Intelligence Service, who first appeared in The Russia House. Sir Anthony Bradshaw previously appeared in the epilogue of The Secret Pilgrim, in which Leonard Burr also appears as the youthful Chief of the Service.

Adaptation edit

On 10 January 2015, production of an adaptation was announced. Directed by Susanne Bier, the six-part serial aired on BBC One in the UK and began airing on AMC in the US in April 2016. The cast includes Tom Hiddleston as Pine, Hugh Laurie as Roper, Olivia Colman as a gender-swapped Burr, Tom Hollander as Corkoran, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jed.[3]

An Indian streaming series adaption starring Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapoor was released in 2023 on Hotstar[4]

References edit

  1. ^ "The Night Manager". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  2. ^ Nicholson, David (4 July 1993). "The brave new world of espionage". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  3. ^ Petski, Denise (5 March 2015). "Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, Elizabeth Debicki Join AMC's 'The Night Manager'".
  4. ^ "Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor's first look from The Night Manager out. Series to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar". India Today.