The Secret Agent

By Joseph Conrad
Read by Ralph Cosham

8.85 Hours 09/01/1996 unabridged
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Inspired by an actual attempted terrorist attack in nineteenth-century London, The Secret Agent offers a chillingly prophetic portrait of contemporary terrorism, even famously inspiring the Unabomber. The literary precursor to the espionage novels of such writers as Graham Greene and John le Carré, Conrad’s intense political thriller resonates more strongly than ever in today’s world, where a handful of fanatics can still play mad politics and victimize the innocent. Mr. Verloc is a double agent who operates a seedy shop in Soho, where he lives with his wife, her mother, and her idiot brother. When Verloc is assigned a dangerous act of sabotage, it has disastrous repercussions for his own family. Conrad paints a corrupt London underworld where terrorists and politicians, grotesques and foreign diplomats, fanatics and fashionable society are surprisingly intermingled. As Conrad brilliantly explores the confused motives that lie at the heart of terrorism, his savagely ironic voice is concerned not just with politics but with the desperate fates of ordinary people.

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Summary

Summary

One of Modern Library's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century

Inspired by an actual attempted terrorist attack in nineteenth-century London, The Secret Agent offers a chillingly prophetic portrait of contemporary terrorism, even famously inspiring the Unabomber. The literary precursor to the espionage novels of such writers as Graham Greene and John le Carré, Conrad’s intense political thriller resonates more strongly than ever in today’s world, where a handful of fanatics can still play mad politics and victimize the innocent.

Mr. Verloc is a double agent who operates a seedy shop in Soho, where he lives with his wife, her mother, and her idiot brother. When Verloc is assigned a dangerous act of sabotage, it has disastrous repercussions for his own family. Conrad paints a corrupt London underworld where terrorists and politicians, grotesques and foreign diplomats, fanatics and fashionable society are surprisingly intermingled. As Conrad brilliantly explores the confused motives that lie at the heart of terrorism, his savagely ironic voice is concerned not just with politics but with the desperate fates of ordinary people.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The most brilliant novelistic study of terrorism.” New York Times
“Conrad weaves the themes of spying, politics, and moral tumult into a humdinger of a novel.” Independent
“The Secret Agent is an astonishing book…It is one of the best—and certainly the most significant—detective stories ever written.” Ford Madox Ford
“One of Conrad’s supreme masterpieces…one of the unquestioned classics of the first order that he added to the English novel.” F. R. Leavis

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) (1857–1924) was born in Ukraine. Raised by an uncle after the death of his parents, he educated himself by reading widely in Polish and French. At age twenty-one he began a long career sailing the seas on French merchant vessels, after which he went to London and began writing, using the romance and adventure of his own life for his incomparable sea novels.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 8.85
Audience: Adult
Language: English