Tag: The Secret Agent

Graham Greene – The Ministry of Fear | Review

Title: The Ministry of Fear

Author: Graham Greene

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 221

Rating: 7/10


Graham Greene - The Ministry of Fear

Graham Greene – The Ministry of Fear


The Ministry of Fear is one of Graham Greene’s earlier novels, and put simply it follows the events that happen to a young man called Arthur Rowe, who wins a cake from a fête without realising that it contains a secret message. Rowe ends up embroiled in a bomb plot from Nazi Germany, which is unfortunate to say the least – he could do without it, seeing as how he’s got a past to try to forget.

I’ll be honest, there’s nothing to mark The Ministry of Fear apart from much of Greene’s other work, especially because it has a fairly typical story-line, but it’s still a delightful little read and a decent novel by a wonderful writer. It’s the sort of book that I’d never re-read, purely because Greene has such excellent material to choose from, but that I also wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, especially if you’re the type of person who likes novels about espionage and intrigue.

In many ways, it’s the novel that The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad would have been if Conrad wasn’t a bore, and although Greene’s effort came out 36 years later, it feels like the superior novel and not a cheap imitation.


Graham Greene

Graham Greene


Click here to buy The Ministry of Fear.


Joseph Conrad – The Secret Agent | Review

Title: The Secret Agent

Author: Joseph Conrad

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 269

Rating: 6/10


Joseph Conrad - The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad – The Secret Agent


I first read The Secret Agent because it was required reading for my ‘London in Literatureuniversity module, and I’m sorry to say that it was one of only two books from the semester that disappointed me (the other being Mrs Dalloway). There’s just something about Conrad’s writing style that doesn’t sit well with me, and it feels more like a chore than a pleasure.

Still, it does have some unique redeeming qualities, and you’d be a fool to dismiss it out of hand – Conrad’s tale of the vaguely evil secret agent Mr. Verloc is a so-called classic, and you can see why if you re-read it and pick up on some of the nuances that passed you by to begin with. There are also some touching moments with Verloc’s brother-in-law, Stevie.

Steve suffers from a disability, and he’s used as a pawn in Verloc’s game of espionage – I won’t tell you how or why though, because that’s for you to find out if you choose to read the novel. I find it hard to cast my vote either way, and my rating keeps fluctuating between six and seven – it could be anything, by the time I hit the big red button.

In all seriousness, if you’re tempted to read it then by all means, go ahead and read it. It’s a good introduction to Conrad’s work, and much better reviewed than most of it – it’s just not for me, and I don’t think it ever will be.


Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad


Click here to buy The Secret Agent.