Conrad's dark satire on English society presents a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists and fanatics. Mr Verloc, the secret agent, operates from a seedy Soho shop, where he deals in pornography and espionage. Idle, treacherous, self-righteous, he is one of the novel's many grotesque characters, including 'the professor', who walks the streets with a bomb strapped to his body. When Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb in Greenwich, the tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's savagely ironic voice is concerned not with politics, but with the terrible fates of ordinary people.
'A brilliant book... one of the greatest works of modern irony.'