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  • Published: 22 January 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784708184
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $19.99

Star of the North

This is the most explosive thriller of the year - you won't be able to put it down.

'Extraordinary...smart, sophisticated, suspenseful - and important. If you try one new thing this year, make it Star of the North' LEE CHILD North Korea and the USA are on the brink of war. A young American woman disappears without trace from a South Korean island.

The CIA recruits her twin sister to uncover the truth.

Now, she must go undercover in the world’s most deadly state.

Only by infiltrating the dark heart of the terrifying regime will she be able to save her sister…and herself.

‘Tense and compelling.’ James Swallow, Sunday Times bestselling author of NOMAD

  • Published: 22 January 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784708184
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

D. B. John

D. B. John has lived in South Korea and is one of the few Westerners to have visited North Korea. He co-authored The Girl With Seven Names, Hyeonseo Lee’s New York Times bestselling memoir about her escape from North Korea.

Praise for Star of the North

Extraordinary ... smart, sophisticated, suspenseful - and important. If you try one new thing this year, make it Star of the North.

Lee Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers

Tense and compelling.

James Swallow, Sunday Times bestselling author of NOMAD

A superior thriller…steeped in the intrigue, culture and family of a closed regime.

Andrew Gross, New York Times bestselling author

[Y]ou should read this forensic exposure of the horrors of [Kim Jong-un’s] regime in this Tom Clancy-style evocation of what life there is actually like… Fast-moving and compelling, it provides the perfect fictional backdrop to the summit diplomacy we are now witnessing.

Daily Mail

[John] parlays his knowledge into a grim but incisive narrative…. This is a masterly evocation of life under the Kim Jong-il regime.

Barry Forshaw, Guardian

The country has long tried to hide the terrible realities of life under the Kim dynasty, but John’s new novel, a timely political thriller…strips them bare.

Sarah Oliver, Mail on Sunday

A thrilling tale of abduction and escape in North Korea...highly entertaining...Star of the North builds to a gripping climax.

Washington Post

John uses three memorable primary characters to tell a remarkable story about the most opaque country on Earth: North Korea … The lives of these people collide in a harrowing thriller that exposes an amazingly corrupt regime that embraces savage brutality and nearly every kind of lucrative criminal enterprise … a superior thriller.


Star of The North reads like a cross between Child-44 and I am Pilgrim and is every bit as good as both of them. Read this book and you will not only feel that you've been to North Korea you will also never, ever want to go there. Brutally realistic, fascinatingly detailed, it's a fantastic thriller whose fantasy is all the more powerful for being based on truth.

Simon Toyne, bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy and Solomon Creed series

The timeliest thriller of 2018. An intricately constructed puzzle box of spies and tradecraft that plunges the reader on a cyanide-laced sprint through North Korea.

Matthew Fitzsimmons, bestselling author of The Short Drop

An outstanding thriller that brings to life the seldom-seen underbelly of North Korea ….those seeking a realistic, highly readable look at North Korea will be rewarded.

Publishers Weekly

Brims with marvellous characters and delivers heart-in-your-throat action.

Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

Original, cleverly plotted and easy to read...After a brilliant set up it’s action all the way to the...nail biting and powerful conclusion.

The Nudge

As gripping as it is shocking, this is an adrenaline-rush of a thriller that is also a devastating portrayal of a brutal regime. I couldn’t pull myself away.

Sabine Durrant, bestselling author of LIE WITH ME

Not only brilliantly plotted, with espionage, secrecy, and obsession, it’s a story about survivors, told by three complex and fully realised characters, each battling their own personal demons. John portrays the hardships of North Korea and its people with painful accuracy while never losing sight of their humanity. This one is definitely a star.

Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Never Let You Go and Still Missing

An exhilarating, tightly-plotted page-turner - and a very moving one, too. Full of characters who will capture your heart and have you staying up far too late to find out their fate.

Emily Koch, author of IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE

A fascinating, disturbing insight into this secretive country

Alison Flood, Observery

I’ll never again find anything funny about podgy North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, after reading this ripped-from-the-front-pages thriller.

Alex Gordon, Peterborough Evening Telegraph

[A] multistranded espionage thriller…told with drama and flair.

Wall Street Journal

Truly absorbing

Strong Words

John tells his story with skill

Patrick Anderson, Washington Post

John’s achievement is to embed these revelations in a vivid, convincing thriller. Long passages of undigested research are mercifully absent and it never feels like a mere pretext for an info-dump

John Dugdale, Sunday Times

‘[John] tells his exciting story well and is a fine writer of action scenes. But what really makes the book unmissable is its portrayal of everyday life for ordinary people in North Korea

Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express

- [A]n exceptionally exciting and stylish thriller

Irish Independent

[A] cast of marvellous characters and a storyline that blows your senses

Northern Echo

It’s a good plot, greatly enriched by the portrait of the totalitarian society that John draws

Marcel Berlins, The Times

A gripping novel of extraordinary insight… The fiction grips and the reality behind it bites – hard. A terrific and disturbing read

Guto Harri, The Tablet, **Books of the Year**

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