The Secret Agent
By Joseph Conrad
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The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad ranked # 46 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
The Secret Agent is a 1907 novel by Joseph Conrad, a bleak and darkly comic story of spies, terrorists, anarchists and agents provocateurs of an unnamed foreign power 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. Other characters include Verloc's wife Winnie and Winnie's brother, Stevie; Ossipon and Michaelis, two anarchists; and Chief Inspector Heat, of the London police.
The book and Verloc's character are said to have influenced the Unabomber.
Conrad's The Secret Agent formed the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's 1936 film, Sabotage. (Another 1936 Hitchcock film, Secret Agent, was based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham.) Conrad's novel, The Secret Agent, was also adapted sixty years later, in 1996, as a film starring Bob Hoskins and Patricia Arquette.
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