'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
'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: The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong Un
The wild story of a college activist's high-stakes attempt to topple the North Korean regime and change the world.
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 realized he had found a cause so pressing that he was ready to devote his life to it. What began as a trip down the safe and well-worn path of organizing soon morphed into something more dangerous. 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 third-generation 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 Marine veteran Christopher Ahn, helped ferry 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 fugitives.
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, The Rebel and the Kingdom is an exhilarating account of a man who turns his back on the status quo-to instead live boldly by his principles. Acclaimed journalist and bestselling author Bradley Hope-who broke numerous details of Hong's operations in The Wall Street Journal-now reveals the full contours of this 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.