Star of the North by D. B. John @vintagebooks #SpyStories #NetGalley #BookReview



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.

Star of the North is the most explosive thriller of the year – you won’t be able to put it down.

‘A superior thriller … steeped in the intrigue, culture and family of a closed regime’ Andrew Gross, New York Times bestselling author

‘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.’ Chevy Stevens, bestselling author of Never Let You Go

‘Brims with marvellous characters and delivers heart-in-your-throat action’ Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

‘The timeliest thriller of 2018. An intricately constructed puzzle box of spies and tradecraft’ Matthew Fitzsimmons, bestselling author of The Short Drop

‘Extraordinary … smart, sophisticated, suspenseful – and important. If you try one new thing this year, make it Star of the North.’ Lee Child

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


Star of the North: An explosive thriller set in North Korea


I knew little about Korea when I began reading this book only that this story had been written with a mix of both fact and fiction and to be honest until what the author said at the very end I didn’t have a clue which was which.

At the beginning of the story a young American girl and her boyfriend disappear from a South Korean Island and twelve years later her twin sister has still not given up on finding her. Jenna is fluent in a number of languages and multi skilled in such more, so it was no surprise that she was approached by the CIA to take on an under cover mission that could finally solve what had happened to her sister so many others that had gone missing over time. As the story begins to unfold it is told by three different people. Jenna, Mrs. Moon and Cho. All of them with their own incredible stories that overlap.

I read the descriptions of Korea with admiration for a proud people but boy the brutality through the ranks of the military, police force and officials was horrendously cruel and unjust. No-one was safe as at times the story was like witch trials, the accused were damned if the confessed to trumped up charges after endless beatings and damned if they didn’t. It isn’t for the faint hearted but OMG it is one tremendous story.

Each of the stories get a fair amount of coverage as the characters have to adapt to new situations they find themselves in. I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite out of the three but for me Cho gets the edge. The whole story just over powered my mind and made me feel so very humble. An amazing book of courageous people. Just outstanding with endings that left me in tears. Perfection!


D. B. JOHN was born in Wales. He began training as a lawyer but switched to a career in publishing, editing popular children’s books on history and science. In 2009 he moved to Berlin, Germany, to write his first novel, Flight from Berlin. A visit to North Korea in 2012 inspired Star of the North. He lives in Angel, London.




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