The Night Manager

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The Night Manager
First edition
Author John le Carré
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Spy novel
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 429 pp
ISBN 0-679-42513-6
Preceded by The Secret Pilgrim
Followed by Our Game

The Night Manager is an espionage/detective novel by John le Carré, published in 1993. It is his first post-Cold War novel, detailing an undercover operation to nab an international criminal.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel follows Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier turned night auditor for a luxurious hotel. One night, Pine encounters Sophie, a French-Arab woman who has ties to Richard Onslow Roper, an English black marketeer who has made a fortune from the sale of weapons. Sophie provides Pine with incriminating documents, which Pine forwards to a friend in British intelligence. Despite Pine's best efforts to help her, Sophie's betrayal is discovered and she is subsequently murdered. Six months later, Pine is approached by intelligence operatives Leonard Burr and Rex Goodhew, who head a British anti-arms-smuggling organization and are planning an elaborate sting operation against Roper. Eager to avenge Sophie, Pine agrees to go undercover to infiltrate Roper's vast criminal empire, but the operation is jeopardized by an inter-agency turf war within the intelligence community.

Burr sets up an operation called "Limpet" designed to take down Roper. Jonathan Pine is then used as the recruit and with Burr, fabricates a criminal identity and cover story and heads to the Bahamas to meet up where Roper is going. Pine wins the confidence of Roper by "rescuing" his child from a phony kidnapping orchestrated by Burr's organization, getting severely injured in the process when the kidnappers beat him up. When he recovers, Roper sets Pine up with a fake company and uses Pine as a "front man" in his latest, largest illegal arms deal; he is planning to sell embargoed arms to the Colombian drug cartels in exchange for cocaine to be shipped to Europe. As the head of the company, Pine is tasked with the assignment of executing the transaction, in which shipping containers full of cocaine labeled "Colombian coffee" are exchanged for arms. While signing the paperwork Pine gathers information to convict Roper. He has also fallen in love with Roper's innocent English mistress, Jed.

Meanwhile, however, corrupt factions within both the CIA and British Intelligence are profiting from the illegal arms trade, and form a secret organization, 'Flagship', to scuttle Burr's sting operation. They betray Pine's true identity to Roper, who holds him captive on his yacht and tortures him. To save Pine, Burr sacrifices his operation and allows Roper to get away, in a daring maneuver which ends his own career. Pine and Jed get away at the end when Burr fools Roper into thinking he faces arrest if he doesn't release the two of them.

As with many Le Carre novels the story has an ambiguous ending, with Pine saved and united with Jed, but the corrupt arms dealers and intelligence officers win and Burr and the honest American enforcement officers working with him are discredited.


On January 10, 2015, production of an adaptation was announced. Directed by Susanne Bier, the six-part miniseries will air on BBC and AMC in 2016. Cast members include Tom Hiddleston (as Jonathan Pine), Hugh Laurie (as Richard Onslow Roper), Olivia Colman (as Burr), Tom Hollander (as Corcoran), and Elizabeth Debicki (as Jed).[1]