The Rebel and the Kingdom :The True Story of the Secret Mission to Overthrow the North Korean Regime

The Rebel and the Kingdom

The Rebel and the Kingdom :The True Story of the Secret Mission to Overthrow the North Korean Regime

Published: 1 November, 2022
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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
Mesmerising -- 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

Bradley Hope is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Billion Dollar Whale and Blood and Oil. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Gerald Loeb Award winner. Formerly a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a correspondent in the Middle East, Hope is co-founder of Project Brazen, a journalism studio and production company. He lives in London.

Type Book
ISBN 9781399806176
Number Of Pages 272
Item Weight 480 g
Product Dimensions 162 x 236 x 32 mm
Publisher John Murray Press
Format Hardback