Star of the North by D.B. John

Star of the North

A propulsive and ambitious thriller about a woman trying to rescue her twin sister from captivity in North Korea, and the North Korean citizens with whom she forms an unlikely allianceStar of the North opens in 1998, when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives. Twelve years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence t...

Details Star of the North

TitleStar of the North
Release DateMay 22nd, 2018
PublisherCrown Publishing Group (NY)
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery

Reviews Star of the North

  • Maureen
    *I was invited to read ‘Star of the North’ by the publisher, and have given an honest review in exchange* For a leader of any dictatorship to be successful, I believe he must ensure that his people are isolated from any outside influences - which happens to describe the State of North Korea perfectly.The storyline follows three threads, the first being American, Jenna, who's twin sister was abducted from a South Korean beach in 1998- years la...
  • Fran
    The 65th Anniversary of the founding of the Worker's Party in North Korea is at hand. The date: October 10, 2010. Colonel Cho of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is overcome with emotion. People weep, cry, and cheer as Kim Jong-Il waves to the crowd. After all, Kim Jong-Il is their guiding light. North Korean news coverage shows the Dear Leader eating simple meals of potatoes in solidarity, and with understanding, of the people's plight. Author D....
  • Louise Wilson
    A Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives. Twenty two years later. Her twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her., and ends up on the radar of of the CIA.There are three threads to this storyline:- 1) Jenna's search for her twin sister who has been missing for over twenty years. 2) Mre Moon who lives and works on a penal farm. 3) The North Korean official Cho, who seems to have a charmed lif...
  • Chevy Stevens
    Loved it. Brilliant.
  • Liz Barnsley
    Extremely timely, authentic and really quite scary thriller with the unusual North Korean setting and some honest home truths about that regime that are utterly chilling, Star of the North is one of the best thrillers I've read in a long while.I read open mouthed at some of the twists and turns in this one, only realising at the end (where the author handily tells us what is real and what is imagined in the scenario's playing out but don't read t...
  • michelle
    Star of the North is not my typical story that I read but, if you don’t know much about what happens in North Korea, this is the book for you.Jenna Williams is a Professor in Foreign affairs and also a Korean/American with her Twin Soo -min. But her twin disappeared in 1998 in South Korea and Jenna has always wondered what happened to her. Also the CIA have recruited her to go on a mission in North Korea.Mrs Moon has been living on prison farm ...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    For a totalitarian dictator to successfully run a country and make himself a godlike figure to one and all, he necessarily must isolate it from the rest of the world. North Korea was such an abstract concept to me, until Adam Johnson’s masterpiece novel and Pulitzer winner, The Orphan Master's Son, in 2012. It shook me to my knees, and gave the elusive, corrupt leader, Kim Jong-il, and his subjects—the people of the country--real substance. L...
  • Dave
    Star of the North is a fictionalized account of a land where the truth is stranger than fiction, a land which is more like George Orwell’s 1984 than he could have ever imagined. It is at once a spy thriller but more so a peek into the inner places of the Hermit kingdom. Particularly shocking are the kidnappings by North Korea over decades of primarily South Koreans and Japanese, often young people on picnics or tourists captured in submarines f...
  • Sarah
    LOVED this book - review to come soon
  • Kate
    I can't praise this intense and thoroughly absorbing political/spy thriller enough. It's an eye opener about North Korea and is genuinely shocking. It's also a page turner and no wonder because it tells a brilliant story and its people are wholly believable - I cared deeply. Star of the North is a topical and relevant thriller, enormously exciting, extremely intelligent and beautifully written. Don't miss it. Review to follow shortly on For Winte...
  • Mary Lins
    Full disclosure: I've been obsessed with leaning about life in North Korea (and other closed societies) ever since reading Adam Johnson's Pulitzer winning novel, "The Orphan Master's Son". So I was quick to select "Star of the North", by D. B. John, and set upon it with happy anticipation. I was swiftly rewarded! The story of Jenna Williams’ search for her identical twin sister, Soo-min, who was abducted by North Korea in 1998, is immediately e...
  • Heather Fineisen
    A Georgetown professor becomes a CIA operative specializing in North Korea after her twin sister is abducted when she is eighteen. This well researched story of a US delegation' s visit and vice versa reflects the modern state of North Korea where truth can often be stranger than fiction. Filled with a few unexpected twists before things get pretty incredible towards the end. This novel was read with great interest and has a comprehensive Author'...
  • Nancy McFarlane
    Whatever you thought about North Korea before – including the risk of a nuclear attack – you will soon realize that it could be much, much worse. Jenna Williams is a young very well respected professor of foreign affairs. She is Korean American and the identical twin of Soo-min (Susie) who disappeared from a South Korean beach 12 years earlier while a student in Seoul. Soo-min supposedly drowned while picnicking with a fellow student. Mrs. Mo...
  • Stef L
    Enlightening and Mesmerising. Star of The North is quite simply a booklike no other. Timely and terrifyingly close to reality It really packs a punch. Real life was completely pushed aside as I entered the intriguing yet harrowing world of North Korea. The three key narratives intertwine seamlessly to create a rip-roaring thriller that has it all. Courage reigns over oppression from richly plotted characters whose light dazzles from each and ever...
  • Christi
    So good!
  • Becky Hawkins
    A timely and insightful blockbuster of a read. An intriguing spy thriller set in America and North Korea as newly recruited spy Jenna searches for the sister everyone assumed drowned in South Korea, but who in fact may well be alive and part of a dastardly plot by the Kim regime in North Korea. The thing I loved about this book is that in addition to a fast paced and thrilling story-line, we are given an insight into the most secretive regime in ...
  • Niki
    An action-packed thriller steeped in the farcical reality of North Korea. I'm a bit of a DPRK info-junkie, and I could immediately tell the author did a fair amount of research for this book. Even the most ludicrous of plot developments (like North Korea's "Seed Bearing Program") are based on actual events. Some of the writing is a little stilted, I never fully warmed to the main character, Jenna. The side characters, however, Mrs. Moon and Cho, ...
  • Nathan Metcalf
    Star of the North is a thoroughly enjoyable read giving a glimpse in the life’s of contrasting individuals living within North Korea which sheds light on how the different classes live.The story follows Jenna, a CIA operative looking for clues on the mysterious disappearance of her sister in South Korea, a North Korean peasant woman and that of a high ranking official. The story superbly intertwines these character together with a few twists al...
  • Colette Lamberth
    There is so much more to this book than the blurb suggests, with another two storylines which the author skilfully weaves in. The main characters all have quite incredible life stories but my particular favourite was Mrs Moon. While reading it I had the feeling that a lot of it might be based on fact and I appreciate the author including a note at the end to separate the facts from the fiction. I know I will be thinking about this book for a whil...
  • Jamie
    I received an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway and I’m so glad I did. I started reading it on my lunch breaks and found that I didn’t want to stop. The three main characters were intriguing and, with each turn of the page, I grew more and more interested. It was fascinating trip through a world I only knew through news alerts. The combination of fiction mixed with real world people and events was fantastic. I’m kind of sad it...
  • Emily
    Wow - what a fantastic story! 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. I loved it.
  • Jonathan Toth
    I really loved this book! Not what I typically read, but Thought I give it a chance and glad I did! Great characters, fast paced and Mrs. Moon is bad ass! Definitely will be recommending
  • Bonnie Brody
    'Star of the North' is a thriller that takes place primarily in North Korea and the United States. Having known very little about North Korea prior to reading this novel I was enthralled by the information I gleaned. The book is a literary page turner that has something for everyone. The main characters are Jenna, Mrs. Moon, and Colonel Cho. How there lives intersect is a key theme of this book's narrative.Jenna is an academic, teaching at George...
  • Carol
    I have been interested in North Korea for as long as I can remember. My uncle fought in the Korean War. It was before I was in grade school and I remember that I was full of questions that I never asked. This thriller written by D.B John with great skill and attention to historical factsThere are three main characters, Jenna who is half Korean and half black, Her father fought in the war and her mother was from North Korea. Jenna had recently los...
  • Jo Hurst
    I read this in 12 staves via pigeon hole. It is a story that follows 3 threads: Jenna who is an African Korean American whose twin sister went missing when they were 18. Jenna is recruited into the CIA due to her expertise in North Korean culture. Mrs Moon is an elderly woman in North Korea struggling to make ends meet. Cho is high up in Kim Jong Ils command and a loyal servant. The story starts very slowly and it's almost half way done before it...
  • Trena
    Having previously read memoirs of people who have escaped North Korea, the premise of this novel instantly caught my attention. The story is rooted in reality so as I'm being thrilled with all the twists, turns and surprises I also learned much about the complexity of the situations there. The author included a section at the back addressing many of the topics from the novel that are real issues and gives titles for extended reading on those subj...
  • Clare
    I feel like I've just stepped off roller coaster - what a ride this story was!! Twelve years after her sister was kidnapped on a South Korean beach, Jenna, a Korean - American and a well respected lecturer in North Korean studies, joins the CIA. She thinks that she may be able to track down her sister, who she believes is still alive. Mrs Moon is a North Korean peasant who builds a business after finding contraband food that was sent over by ball...
  • John Johnstone
    I really enjoy a great story that uses current events as its base, add in politics and espionage and all my needs can be catered for. Did D.B John succeed with this recipe, yes he did. North Korea and the USA are at the brink of war and the author uses this to explore what life is like under this regime whilst delivering a thrilling political novel. Jenna Williams joins the CIA an hopes that she might uncover the truth of her twin sisters disappe...
  • Jaine
    There is not enough praise I can heap on this story about the regime of North Korea and the Leaders frightening grip on his people. This has to be one of The BEST books I have read, ever! It is most definitely a book of the moment given the current and recent events of North Korea and a frightening nod the the fear it instills. This is the first book by the author D.B I have read but will certainly not be the last. His story had me gripped and ro...
  • Sara
    The Star of the North is an engrossing thriller that provides the reader with a glimpse into life in North Korea. At the beginning of the book, we meet Dr. Jenna Williams, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, who is recruited by the CIA because of her expertise and background, to assist with intelligence regarding North Korea, as that countries missile program becomes a growing threat to the US. As she becomes involved iwith a North K...