"The Secret Agent" is a novel by Joseph Conrad that was published in 1907. The story is set in London in 1886 and deals largely with the life of Mr. Verloc and his job as a spy.
The novel is set in London in 1886 and follows the life of Mr. Verloc, a secret agent. Verloc is also a businessman who owns a shop which sells pornographic material, contraceptives, and bric-a-brac. He lives with his wife Winnie, his mother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, Stevie. Stevie has a mental disability which causes him to be very excitable; his sister, Verloc's wife, attends to him, treating him more as a son than as a brother. Verloc's friends are a group of anarchists of which Comrade Ossipon, Michaelis, and "The Professor" are the most prominent. Although largely ineffectual as terrorists, their actions are known to the police. The group produce anarchist literature in the form of pamphlets entitled F.P., an acronym for The Future of the Proletariat.
Because of its terrorist theme, The Secret Agent was noted as "one of the three works of literature most cited in the American media" around two weeks after September 11, 2001. The Secret Agent was ranked the 46th best novel of the 20th century by Modern Library. The Secret Agent is also notable as it is one of Conrad's later political novels, which move away from his typical tales of seafaring.