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The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad

Book Overview: 

The Secret Agent is Conrad’s dark, and darkly comic story of a band of spies, anarchists, agents-provocateurs plotting and counter-plotting in the back streets of London in the early 20th Century. The novel centers on Verloc, a shop-owner, phony-anarchist and double-agent, who becomes embroiled in an ambitious terrorist plan to bomb the Greenwich Observatory.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .His single back room, remarkable for having an extremely large cupboard, he rented furnished from two elderly spinsters, dressmakers in a humble way with a clientele of servant girls mostly.  He had a heavy padlock put on the cupboard, but otherwise he was a model lodger, giving no trouble, and requiring practically no attendance.  His oddities were that he insisted on being present when his room was being swept, and that when he went out he locked his door, and took the key away with him.

Ossipon had a vision of these round black-rimmed spectacles progressing along the streets on the top of an omnibus, their self-confident glitter falling here and there on the walls of houses or lowered upon the heads of the unconscious stream of people on the pavements.  The ghost of a sickly smile altered the set of Ossipon’s thick lips at the thought of the walls nodding, of people running for life at the sight of those spectacles.  If they had only . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Stevie used to be the boy with a boat who took me to the bay. While he rowed, I baled water with a tin can. At twelve, it was the height of romance. Now, a new Stevie has my heart. He is older in years yet acts even younger. He's quiet, too. And kind.

Only, he doesn't live in a nice town with lawns

The Secret Agent is a dark satire of clandestine activities…
Adolf Verloc is a secret agent… He is a mediocre agent…
“You give yourself for an agent provocateur The proper business of an agent provocateur is to provoke. As far as I can judge from your record kept here, you have done nothing to earn yo

Για άλλη μια φορά η πεζογραφία του Κόνραντ είναι πυκνή, σκοτεινή, αριστουργηματική και πρωτοπόρα.

« Ο μυστικός πράκτορας » μια σημαντική και θλιβερή ιστορία βολεμένων επαναστατών που μαθαίνουν πως οι αφηρημένες ιδέες τους δεν έχουν καμία σχέση με τις πραγματικές πηγές χάους, βίας και αναρχίας.


I can appreciate this novel is pretty wonderful. And as I read more and more I was fascinated, but I did find it hard going at the start. I think the plot is horrific, and it made me want to research the Greenwich Bomb in more detail. I think it was a pretty daring book for Conrad to release at such

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