Stories of people who have escaped from North Korea are well documented, but many choose not to take that risk, aware of what could happen to the relatives that get left behind. They are perceived as ‘defectors’, a word with connotations of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War, an era thankfully consigned to history. Yet that is how they are perceived by the all-powerful state: traitors, criminals and malcontents who tell lies about their country, and who are┬áprobably encouraged to do so by agents of ‘corrupt’ western democracies. The reality is that a country building fences to keep its people in speaks volumes.

The Medusa books are an imaginative account of the circumstances leading to such escapes, and the consequences of such a huge and terrifying act of defiance for the individuals concerned.