How did an Ivy League activist become a global fugitive? The New York Times bestselling co-author of Billion Dollar Whale and Blood and Oil chronicles the heart-pounding tale of a self-taught operative his high-stakes attempt subvert the North Korean regime.
"Propulsive . . . Hope´s account is both deeply reported and novelistic."-Ed Caesar, contributing staff writer for The New Yorker, author of The Moth and the Mountain
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 asylum-seeking North Koreans escape across the border. 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 U.S. Marine veteran Christopher Ahn, helped ferry Kim 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 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.