The Night Manager

The Night Manager

Paperback - 2016
Average Rating:
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Enter the new world of espionage, where the skills forged by generations of spies during the darkest days of the Cold War are put to even more terrifying use. Penetrate the secret world of ruthless arms dealers and drug smugglers who have risen to unthinkable power and wealth. The sinister master of them all is an untouchable Englishman named Roper, the charming, unstoppable ruler of a corrupt world all his own. Slipping into this maze of peril is a former British soldier, Jonathan Pine, who knows Roper well enough to hate him more than he hates any other man on earth. Now personal vengeance is only part of the reason Pine is willing to help the men at Whitehall bring Roper down.
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Canada, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©1993
ISBN: 9780735232822
0735232822
Branch Call Number: FIC LeCar
Characteristics: 516 pages ; 24 cm.

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t
tj_is_cool
Jan 03, 2017

Well done stylish mini-series.

j
JLMason
Oct 20, 2016

With no intention to denigrate the fine writing and nuanced characters, I found the main plot of this book reminded me of a James Bond movie. The hero Pine is an ex-Army, unbelievably multi-talented, handsome loner brooding over a murdered lover. He seems to be fatally attractive to women, charming them into his arms, including a comic interlude in a mining town in northern Quebec. His arch nemesis Roper with the "dolphin smile" is a magnetic, but deadly arms dealer with a private compound in the Caribbean and a beautiful mistress. The story takes place across exotic locales: Switzerland, the Bahamas, Curacao, Colombia. But Le Carre takes it to another level with the parallel, behind-the-scenes story of the British organization running the operation, who must deal with the sabotage and corruption of fellow and ally agencies. I was particularly taken by Le Carre's ability to capture the essence of his characters; I felt like I had met these people. The opening scene of Roper's entourage sweeping into the mountain top Swiss hotel late at night was beautifully rendered. There is a recent British TV series based on book starring Tom Hiddleston as Pine and Hugh Laurie as Roper - -fantastic casting! I'm looking forward to viewing it.

s
StarGladiator
Jul 10, 2016

Five stars for me, I consider this to be the best of Le Carré’s books, but I can neither add nor improve upon the comments of commenter, rab1953, below; a perfect summation.

r
rab1953
Mar 21, 2014

Complex, tense and, as is usual for Le Carré, futile, this book explores the internal life of a man drawn into the most dangerous of roles, a secret agent operating a criminal gang, and the personal conflicts that allow him to be drawn into this work. The psychological profile is Le Carré’s stock in trade, and he applies it adeptly in a new setting, making the story less of a typical spy novel and more a study of character and circumstance. It would be a misnomer to call the book a spy novel (as the term is commonly used in marketing), but in fact Le Carré’s preoccupation with this theme is probably truer to the actuality of spying than the action adventures that usually go under that name. But this has always been Le Carré’s theme, and he excels at it. The troubled characterization of the agent Jonathon Pine seems convincing enough, although internal verbalizing about his desire for the boss’s wife seems a bit overstated. Perhaps it is standing in for the passion that drives Pine – the reason he accepts such a role in the first place is his fury over the murder of another woman linked to the gang and his own propensity for uncontrolled rage. (But this is another recurring theme for Le Carré – men driven by an unattainable passion for a woman. Also as usual for Le Carré, the women’s roles are thinly sketched, primarily being just an object of interest for the male protagonists.) Pine’s passions underlay his military past, and carry him through the mistakes and betrayals to his heroic if unsuccessful achievements. Interesting here is how the betrayals that, in other Le Carré books come from conflicting national interests and organizations, here come from corruption, careerism and conflict within the British secret services. And equally bad is the way that the protectors of international law profess to be against crime, but turn away when commercial interests are at stake. In this scathing characterization, the internal conflicts lead to the destruction of good operators who try to protect honor and truth, and to the torture and near death of the agent Pine. It is one of the few (somewhat) happy endings in Le Carré’s books that sees Pine’s handler make a trade with an utterly venal and despicable criminal for Pine’s life. It’s interesting to see how the bureaucrats manoeuvre to gain and lose control, and how a principled operator tries to rescue his operation. This seems much more realistic than the spectacular technology and personal heroics of the trashy spy novels. Like Le Carré’s other novels, his tone is that of a distanced observer, even when describing the internal workings of his character’s mind. This again distinguishes it from the more conventional spy novels, where the point is the visceral excitement of the action. That isn’t the point with Le Carré, although he does build suspense and tension as his plot develops. But for a thoughtful examination of ambiguous morality, deceit and corruption in and between governments, Le Carré succeeds in illuminating what is really going on

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