Rip-roar­ing tale a nail-biter

Star of the North By D.B. John, Pen­guin Ran­dom House, $37

Bay News - - HELLO WORLD - — Linda Thomp­son

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.