This book is amazing. I haven't had a chance to read any Conrad before this despite the fact that he's been on my list for a while. I liked "Apocalypse Now" but actually prefered "The Deer Hunter" whether or not that judgment would bear up to critical examination or not. So basically I expected good stuff but was none the less blown away.
The immediate comparison for me is with Kipling since I have recently been reading a fair amount of him, from short stories, to Kim, and even a couple of his poems. Conrad, at least in this book, is much better. In fact I am tempted to say that this single book is worth more than all of Kipling, includes in fact all of Kipling in it as a moment (sorry, as you can see I have also been reading Hegel). You could also chuck in Golding's "Lord of the Flies."
Anyway, this is definitely a book I plan on reading again with the expectation of even fuller satisfaction.