Rip-roaring tale a nail-biter
Star of the North By D.B. John, Penguin Random House, $37
North Korea remains amystery. It’s the place on the globe where at night, no lights shine because electricity is rationed. There is always the threat of war with the west, despite the burgeoning friendship between Rocket Manand Trump.
It’s the setting for a young American woman who disappears from a South Korean island while swimming at the beach.
The CIA recruits her twin sister to find out what happened to her, and off we go into the silent and menacing country where the elite live in luxury, but the rest of the country struggles to survive, many starve to death and those who stand up to the regime are sent to prison camps or executed.
John, who is Welsh, went to North Korea in 2012 and towed the line while he was there, but whenhe left he read more written about those who escaped the regime. This book is the result.
There’s a former diplomat who has ended up in a prisoncamp inhabited by generations of slaves, who attempts to escape to China.
There’s the ordinary woman dealing with corrupt police and thugs near the Chinese border, who remembers the famine.
All inall, it’s a rip-roaring story about a place we’d all like toknow moreabout. John is a clever writer with a nice turn of phrase. The story is a nail-biter. It will make you glad to live in this country.