Synopses & Reviews
One of Conrad's acknowledged masterpieces, The Secret Agent (1907) concerns a group of revolutionaries in the backstreets of 19th-century London, plotting the destruction of a monument of learning and science, in this case, the Greenwich Observatory. Unbeknownst to the schemers, however, their ringleader is an agent provocateur. Rich in authentic atmosphere and psychological realism, the story revolves around Adolph Verloc, proprietor of an obscure Soho shop, whose double life encompasses a quiet family circle, an active friendship with a group of anarchists, and allegiance to an unnamed foreign government. Ordered to carry out the attack on the Observatory, Verloc sees his plan take a disastrous turn for the worse, providing a thrilling climax for this engrossing tale by a master of irony and characterization.
A group of revolutionaries in the backstreets of 19th-century London plot the destruction of the Greenwich Observatory in this 1907 masterpiece of suspense. Rich in atmosphere and psychological realism, the tale centers on a shopkeeper whose double life encompasses a quiet family circle, active friendships with anarchists, and allegiance to a foreign government.