London, 1900...A bomb has exploded at the Greenwich Observatory, an attack “having all the shocking senselessness of gratuitous blasphemy.” The unknown bomber is blown to bits. Chief Inspector Heat’s investigation leads to Adolf Verloc, a foreign provocoteur and his cell of terrorists. But the bomber turns out to be a mere boy...Verloc’s wife’s beloved brother, out on a mission he could not have possibly understood. A story of political intrigue among anarchists and government officials, murder and suicide, The Secret Agent is a story of social tragedy and intimate human drama, a story, sadly, for our times.
Conrad's masterpiece and the only novel he set in England, The Secret Agent (1907) is the terrifying tale of an anarchist plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory, at the time the world’s most modern symbol of learning and science. With psychological acuity that penetrates into the backstreets of turn-of-the-century London, he introduces us to an unforgettable the cast of characters that includes foreign diplomats, police investigators, wealthy sympathizers, downtrodden victims, and a suicide bomber, each driven by callous selfishness and misdirected idealism in a story that, one hundred years later, seems all too familiar.