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The Rebel and the Kingdom

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399806190

Price: £10.99

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‘Propulsive . . . Deeply reported and novelistic. I flew through it’ Ed Caesar

‘Jaw dropping even for North Korea . . . A terrific piece of up-close reportage that reads like a spy thriller but is all too real’ Anna Fifield


In the early 2000s, Adrian Hong was a soft-spoken Yale undergraduate looking for his place in the world. After reading a harrowing account of life inside North Korea, he realised he had found a cause to which he could devote his life.

Hong journeyed to China, outwitting Chinese security services as he helped ferry asylum-seeking North Korean escapees to safety. Meanwhile, Hong’s secret organization, Cheollima Civil Defense (later renamed Free Joseon), began tracking the North Korean government’s activities, and its volatile ruler, Kim Jong-un.

Free Joseon targeted North Korean diplomats who might be persuaded to defect, while drawing up plans for a government-in-exile. After the shocking broad-daylight assassination in 2017 of Kim Jong-nam, the dictator’s older brother, Hong, along with US Marine veteran Christopher Ahn, helped ferry Jong-nam’s family to safety. Then Hong took the group a step further. He initiated­ a series of ­high-stakes direct actions, culminating in ­an armed­ raid at the North Korean embassy in Madrid – an act that would put Ahn behind bars and turn Hong into one of the world’s most unlikely global fugitives.

The Rebel and the Kingdom is an exhilarating account of how a trip down the safe and well-worn path of activism soon morphed into something extremely dangerous. Acclaimed journalist and bestselling author Bradley Hope – who broke numerous details of Hong’s operations in­ the Wall Street Journal -reveals his remarkable story of idealism and insanity, hubris and heroism, all set within the secret battle for the future of the world’s most mysterious and unsettling nation.


A propulsive investigation into the wild adventures of a man determined to bring down the North Korean regime . . . Deeply reported and novelistic. I flew through it
Ed Caesar, author of THE MOTH AND THE MOUNTAIN
One of the most harrowing and inspiring stories I've ever read. This book left me in tears. Hope tells this inconceivable and heart-wrenching story with compassion, humanity, and integrity
Yeonmi Park, bestselling author of IN ORDER TO LIVE
The engrossing inside story of two recent events that are jaw-dropping even for North Korea, and the obsessive man behind them . . . A terrific piece of up-close reportage that reads like a spy thriller but is all too real
Anna Fifield, author of THE GREAT SUCCESSOR
5 star review, Sunday Telegraph
A mystery story about an elusive human rights activist - and it reminds us all of the essential evil weirdness of the North Korean regime. Adrian Hong has disappeared, a fugitive from the FBI - but I'd wager that someday we will hear from this quixotic young man again
Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of THE OUTLIER
Thrilling, edifying, funny, and profound. Reading this book, I couldn't help but feel uplifted to learn that, even in our disaffected age, there are people who are willing to give their life to a cause, whatever the personal cost
Kit Chellel, co-author of DEAD IN THE WATER
Only Bradley Hope could take us so deep into this world of diplomats, dictators, and would-be spies and achieve a book that is both utterly gripping and darkly funny. Not since Bill Browder's Red Notice have I gone on such an exhilarating trip into the geopolitical underbelly
Zeke Faux, investigative reporter, Bloomberg News and Businessweek
A fast-paced, true-life thriller pitting a merciless North Korean state against a band of high-tech, courageous activists . . . thoroughly engaging . . . a page-turner of a spy-vs.-spy tale
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A riveting saga of one man's unlikely crusade to free North Korea . . . This is the stuff great political thrillers are made of
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An expertly crafted thriller that makes you turn the page. What makes it all the more remarkable is that it's all true. Bradley Hope is a first-rate reporter and writer, and he has found a subject worthy of his skills in Adrian Hong, a Korean American idealist who set out, improbably enough, to topple the North Korean regime
Max Boot, author of THE ROAD NOT TAKEN