In this thriller confronting North Korea's brutal dictatorship, readers follow three interwoven storylines: a CIA operative in search of her sister, whom she suspects was kidnapped by the regime, a North Korean peasant, and an elite North Korean Diplomat whose family ties to a political dissident threaten his livelihood and life.
John tells his story with skill and a knack for pithy phrases such as 'Her face was as plain as a blister' ... The author offers facts about North Korea that may surprise some readers ... Star of the North builds to a gripping climax ... It’s an exciting ending to a novel that, in addition to being highly entertaining, suggests the difficulties we face in dealing with a small, distant nation with values and beliefs so different from our own.
The storylines of these three characters interweave, providing an exhilarating, intriguing plot. The novel ends with a fiery chase brimming with unusual twists and turns. Through it all, the reader is unexpectedly educated about realities in the hermit realm of North Korea. John offers a fresh, informed look at the oppression, corruption and widespread misery caused by Kim Jong-il, father of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s current totalitarian dictator. The novel, grounded in facts, is intellectually stimulating because of this new, and sometimes maddening, information about life in this regime. This is a smart, sophisticated, topical spy story hard to put down.
How these characters’ lives unpredictably intersect is told with drama and flair by Mr. John, a Londoner whose flexible style is equally at home describing a dictator’s luxury train or the psychic depths of an icy gulag. While CIA agent Jenna, with her seductive allure and her hand-to-hand combat skills, comes close at times to seeming like a female James Bond, Star of the North is saved from caricature by passages of the grimmest realism and welcome bursts of humanism and hope.