A National Book Award for Fiction Nominee, 1964

THE MARTYRED follows Captain Lee, of South Korea’s Army Intelligence, whose investigation of Communists’ murder of twelve Christians shatters his youthful ideals of truth and honor and replaces them with much less wieldy ambiguities of conscience.

During the early weeks of the Korean War, Captain Lee, a young South Korean officer, is ordered to investigate the kidnapping and mass murder of North Korean ministers by Communist forces. For propaganda purposes, the priests are declared martyrs, but as he delves into the crime, Lee finds himself asking: What if they were not martyrs? What if they renounced their faith in the face of death, failing both God and country? Should the people be fed this lie? Part thriller, part mystery, part existential treatise, THE MARTYRED is a stunning meditation on truth, religion, and faith in times of crisis.

First published by George Braziller, Inc. in 1964 and now a Penguin Classic, THE MARTYRED was praised as a masterpiece by two authors as different as Pearl S. Buck and Philip Roth. It was nominated for a National Book Award, and was on the bestseller list for 14 weeks. It has been published in Burma, England, Denmark, Holland, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Argentina, Sweden, the Philippines and Korea.


Born in North Korea and a veteran of the South Korean army, Richard E. Kim was a Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow. His numerous fiction and non-fiction books include LOST NAMES, a novel about a Korean family’s survival of the Japanese occupation.