The story chronicles journalist Georges Duroy's corrupt rise to power from a poor former cavalry NCO in France's African colonies, to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy women. It tells the story of Georges Duroy, who has spent three years in military service in Algeria. After working for six months as a clerk in Paris, an encounter with his former comrade, Forestier, enables him to start a career as a journalist. From a reporter of minor events and soft news, he gradually climbs his way up to chief editor. Duroy initially owes his success to Forestier's wife, Madeleine, who helps him write his first articles and, when he later starts writing lead articles, she adds an edge and poignancy to them.
Deux ans passent. Elle s'appelle Manon Lescaut. Celle-ci refuse. Six mois passent. Cela lui a permis de retrouver Manon. Ils tombent dans les bras l'un de l'autre et elle justifie sa relation avec Monsieur B.