The classic tale of terrorism from one of the twentieth century’s greatest novelists
To his friends and family Adolf Verloc is a typical London businessman. But in reality he is a secret agent for a foreign government. His assignment has been to stir up trouble among the local anarchist groups, but when his handlers become frustrated with his lack of progress, they demand a new course of action: Verloc will bomb the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
A masterpiece of intricate plotting and dark realism, The Secret Agent skips backward and forward in time as the repercussions of its central event are felt by every character—from the radicals who think Verloc is one of their own to the wife and brother-in-law he traps in his whirlwind of destruction. This is one of Joseph Conrad’s finest novels, and a portrait of the devastating effects of extremism, as relevant today as when it was first published more than a century ago.
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“The Secret Agent remains the most brilliant novelistic study of terrorism as viewed from the blood-spattered outside.” —The New York Times Joseph Conrad (1857–1924), born to Polish parents in a region of the Russian Empire that is now part of Ukraine, was orphaned at eleven years old and joined the French merchant marine at sixteen. He sailed to the West Indies, Australia, and Borneo, and spent six months captaining a steamer on the Congo River, an experience that inspired his best-known work, Heart of Darkness. One of the great prose stylists, he wrote all of his novels—including the masterworks Lord Jim, Nostromo, and The Secret Agent—in English, his third language.