Om Secret Agent
Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale is a novel published in 1907, a work which is a prototype of much of today's spy fiction. The story features the life of Mr. Verloc, a spy, who lives with his wife in London in 1866. The crime at the center of the book is the plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory. This is Conrad writing about a terrorist a hundred years before Terrorism became a household threat. The central motives are familiar: money, glory, and career opportunities. Though it's a spy novel, The Secret Agent doesn't feel exceptionally thrilling. Mr. Verloc has grown weary of his job as an informant, until his coworkers try to convince him to pull off an act of terror to prove his value to the Embassy. Instead of focusing on the action, Conrad details the ramifications of a spy's life on domestic life. It humanizes the characters to know that even Anarchist terrorists have a desk job, a boss and a wife. That said the characters are somewhat miserable. The story itself is a fine work of literature, to which much of today's spy fiction owes credit. The Secret Agent ranks 46th best novel of the 20th century by The Modern Library.