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Publisher's Summary

The Secret Agent was one of the first espionage novels ever written, and it is certainly one of the finest in the oeuvre of Joseph Conrad. The story concerns the attempt by a group of back-alley revolutionaries to destroy one of London's most famous landmarks and thereby set off a revolution. As the plot unfolds, we discover a cast of unlikely villains, self-aggrandizing intellectuals, overeager bureaucrats, fame hungry politicians, and innocent bystanders, all described with poignant psychological depth as only Conrad could. The story centers around Adolph Verloc, owner of a Soho bookshop and ostensibly a member of a group of home-grown anarchists, but actually in the pay of a foreign government. Verloc's quiescent wife, Winnie, maintains their stable household in which she tries to provide for her retarded brother and her aging mother under the thinly disguised irritability of her husband. The anarchist collective consists of "Doctor" Ossipan, who lives off his romantic attachments to women barely able to take care of themselves; "The Professor", an explosives expert who is so insecure that he is perpetually wired with a detonator in case he is threatened by police capture; and Michaelis, a corpulent writer composing an autobiography after a mitigated sentence in prison.
This production includes a brilliant introduction by Thomas Korzeniowski, a distant relative of Conrad (whose real Polish name was Josef Konrad Korzeniowski). It is not only a fitting tribute to his renowned predecessor, but a very insightful look into the man and his work.
(P)2007 Audio Connoisseur
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Harmon on 12-25-07

Dry Humor

The reader manages to draw out the humorous undertone in Conrad's rich prose. As a result, it is not the story itself that kept me involved in this book, so much as the narration of the story. Conrad's understanding of the nature and tactics of terrorism is thoroughly modern, and his characterizations seem very real. A good listen.

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25 of 25 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Gringuita on 03-31-10

Rewards for the patient listener

Having read, of course, Heart of Darkness and Secret Sharer, and being interested in early detective fiction, I decided to listen to this novel. The narrator was fine enough, and I forced myself to take a deep breath and relax into the leisurely pace of the narrative. It was well worthwhile. Listening in this way reminded me of the vast amounts of leisure time novel readers used to have and I let myself savor Conrad's remarkable prose. By the time the plot thickened (be patient, it does thicken), I was hooked.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jack on 01-30-10


Currently studying English at the University of Nottingham - this website in general has helped a lot. In the grand scheme of audiobook readings, it is a refreshing revelation to stumble across an individual with a decent narrative voice, together with a wide variety of entertaining, and at times amusing accents which might be employed whenever so demanded. Some may be irritated, but I'm sure they need to have a cup of tea and relax...

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Adam on 04-26-09

Ruined by the narrator

Unfortunately the narration makes this offering almost unlistenable. The odd mispronounciation I can cope with, but the way that Charlton Griffin mangles Conrad's syntax and his inappropriate and disruptive "characterisation" has to be heard to be believed.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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