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The Secret Agent

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Author: Joseph Conrad (Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski)
Published: 1907
Language: English
Wordcount: 90,774 / 264 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 63.9
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 12,340 1851

A novel treating of the underworld of London life--the underworld of anarchists and spies. Verloc, "the secret agent," is ostensibly an anarchist, but in reality a spy of one of the big Embassies. He keeps a dim, disreputable shop in side street of Soho, where he lives with his wife, Winnie, his wife's mother, and his half-witted brother-in-law, Stevie. Verloc in his heavy and slothful way is a domesticated man and well pleased with his comfortable existence. So that he is horribly upset when he gets a broad hint from the Embassy that he is not doing enough for his money...

Show Excerpt

c was susceptible to these fascinations. Mr Verloc was an intermittent patron. He came and went without any very apparent reason. He generally arrived in London (like the influenza) from the Continent, only he arrived unheralded by the Press; and his visitations set in with great severity. He breakfasted in bed, and remained wallowing there with an air of quiet enjoyment till noon every day - and sometimes even to a later hour. But when he went out he seemed to experience a great difficulty in finding his way back to his temporary home in the Belgravian square. He left it late, and returned to it early - as early as three or four in the morning; and on waking up at ten addressed Winnie, bringing in the breakfast tray, with jocular, exhausted civility, in the hoarse, failing tones of a man who had been talking vehemently for many hours together. His prominent, heavy-lidded eyes rolled sideways amorously and languidly, the bedclothes were pulled up to his chin, and his dark smooth moustache covered his thick li

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****
Charles Cosimano

This is a brilliant work, not only for its depiction of the anarchists and their awe-inspiring Professor, but also in the way the mind of the constabulary is disected.


This is a psychological tale of a terrorist, reminiscent of "Crime and Punishment". It starts off slow, but you'll be rewarded if you stick with it. Very good, but not for the faint of heart.



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