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My Friend the Mercenary

Narrated by: James Brabazon
Length: 13 hrs and 48 mins
5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

James Brabazon is narrating this story of war, violence, and political intrigue. He wanted a war. And, for his sins, he got one. James Brabazon was an ambitious young war reporter when he entered the chaos of the Liberian Civil War in 2002. Running with the infamous LURD rebels, he survived numerous deadly ambushes, the privations of dysentery and a dramatic two hundred-mile escape from Government troops through dense equatorial jungle. He even had a bounty put on his head. Surrounded by child soldiers, cannibals and ruthless rebels, Brabazon was accompanied by Nick du Toit, a South African mercenary with a dangerous past.

They quickly became best friends. Before long, Nick promised James the scoop of his life: a front seat, beside Simon Mann, in an audacious coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. And the offer was too good to refuse....

©2010 James Brabazon (P)2011 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

“An outstanding memoir about the power of friendship in the morally complex theatre of war. James Brabazon is a fearless reporter and a brutally honest narrator. I couldn't put this book down.” (Andy McNab)

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What listeners say about My Friend the Mercenary

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great narrative

i loved the story and narration was excellent! i could listen for hrs thanks James.

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Great story

Great read good story line well narrated definitely worthy listening to overall excellent book

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Gripping

Amazing book with a great balance of action and intrigue. A truly fascinating story in a very well-written book. Although James Brabazon isn't the greatest narrator, the fact that the author is also the narrator adds an intimate feel and sincerety to the words.
This book has my highest recommendation.

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  • Phil
  • 24-07-2011

Gripping

This is a truly fantastic book. I was totally bowled over by the story and couldn't stop listening. There's not much more to say, really, except that I recommend this book very, very highly.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Directionline
  • 10-10-2014

The best book I have aborbed in years

What made the experience of listening to My Friend the Mercenary the most enjoyable?

The best part about this audiobook, in my opinion, is that James Brabazon reads it himself. You feel so much closer to the experience with the author reading it. He is telling his story. I loved that approach. More authors should read their own work for audible.com.

What did you like best about this story?

That a strong relationship forms between a young journalist who never really had a father an older mercenary who has a son but was never really was there for him growing up. James Brabazon and Nick du Toit take the place of the opposite's absent father and son. Nick, the father, the protector, the experienced one. James, the son, the motivator, the curious one. Very strong subtext in this story.

Which scene was your favorite?

All the adventures they experience in the jungles of Liberia. Also when 30 year old Brigadier-General Deku says goodbye to James. "We are ready. And we're prepared." A very powerful scene.

If you could give My Friend the Mercenary a new subtitle, what would it be?

By any means necessary.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to listening to more book written and read by Mr James Brabazon. Bravo James, this book was phenomenal! Thank you!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Glen
  • 20-06-2012

Cool

Loved this book. The performance was not my favorite, but good enough. Highly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-07-2020

A great adventure

I loved this book, to be honest,, it's taken me a while to finish it. it's a slow read in the beginning bit things pick up and its a lot more complex then I thought it would be. James has a hell of story to tell.

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  • Alex
  • 19-03-2019

In-depth and heavily involved story of the mercenary world and governments.

The book is a master piece that will keep you listening for more. This book opens up your eyes to the what is really happening in the world with regards to the secret dealings and f governments and the grip they have on Africa’s commodities and the lengths governments will go to, to overthrow opposing governments.

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  • Erick Chairez
  • 12-10-2018

I WAS CONSTANTLY HOOKED

Very intense and the details are spot on and really puts the image in mind, strongly recommend it!

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  • RichA
  • 09-02-2018

Well written and performed.

Brought back memories of my past relationships while in the military. Well worth the listen.

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  • Donald E. Lewis
  • 02-01-2018

Least Enjoyable out of Dozens

Perhaps my expectations were wrong. I wanted a good story and instead got a long newspaper article. It was hard for me to listen until the end but I did. There was absolutely no plot and instead I got a historical report. As a parting shot I didn’t believe a lot of the details of the torture scenes.

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  • Brandon
  • 18-06-2017

A must for photojournalists

I hung onto every word, Brabazon's recount of the things he faced in Liberia puts you right beside him and Nick. Highly recommended to anyone in photojournalism or interested in war / conflict reporting.

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  • wunderbuddy
  • 22-07-2016

Not disappointed at all!

Well worth the time and the money. You can watch a lot of this stuff on YouTube filmed as it happened.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-2011

Gripping

I've listened to an audiobook a week for the last 4 months in the car on my journey to and from work. This is the only one I've found myself listening to at the weekend.

I enjoyed the fact that it's narrated by the author, and I think that really helped give you a sense of how he was really feeling when he described the events he was portraying. I did find it hard to keep up with all of the different names and the wheeeling and dealing of who double crossed who and said what to whom, but I guees that's part of the tangled web of secret meetings and arms deals.

It's a part of the world I know so little about and I found myself on the interent reading other peoples interpretation of events, looking at maps and checking out pictures of the capital cities - much more than that was hard to find. The sort of read that gets you thinking.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 25-10-2011

Graphic, bloody 1st part - plodding, complex 2nd.

The first part of this book is a very graphic description of Brabazon's embedding with the LURD rebel army fighting with mercenary support, the dictatorship of Charles Taylor in Liberia. The "friend" of the title is "Nick", a South African ex-special forces mercenary, committed to protecting Brabazon at all costs among the often barbarous, uncontrollable LURD rebels, and under frequent attacks from government forces.

In the tradition of "The Good Soldiers" or Michael Herr's "Dispatches", the book gives a vivid picture of war, the hardships endured, the frequent atrocities, the chaos and randomness of the killing. At one point a LURD rebel accidently flicks his cigarette butt into the wind, which blows it in through the vent of the ammunition resupply truck he was in, detonating the entire cargo. Not only were all passengers killed, but the waiting LURD rebels who desperately needed the ammo, had to retreat as they ran out of bullets and RPGs.

Frequently, captured prisoners are tortured, mutilated and then executed, in one case being disemboweled, while punishments for food stealing were savage. It is no wonder that Brabizon came back from Liberia, enaciated and with PTSD, yet seemingly he couldn't wait to get back.

One interesting theme is his enduring friendship with Nick, who he knows has probably committed murder and atrocities previously, and who fought for apartheid against the ANC. Their friendship however, transcends their political differences, and he has no judgements towards his friend, working tirelessly to find a way to get him released in the second part of the book, when Nick is captured and tortured in a failed take-over of Equatorial Guinea.

Unfortunately, the second half turns into a complex unravelling of the doomed plot to take over Equatorial Guinea, involving Mark Thatcher, Simon Mann and Nick. Brabizon (by luck) was not involved, so it becomes a bit mind-numbing, with little action. The story only revives when he meets his friend again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 22-04-2013

My friend the mercenary

Just a brilliant, sad, and emotion listen about mercenary life in Africa. Shocking, heart warming, and very well read and written. You need to listen to this if you only listen to one book this year. Excellent

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MR
  • 09-01-2012

What a cracker

Really enjoyed this book, the author also narrates and his accents are very good, an excellent listen I would recommend this to anybody

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Derek
  • 01-12-2011

Ufff...

A nice change to my usual fiction fix, the grim story of the war trip made more powerful being based on fact. Vivid images conjured in the imagination from a competent prose that made me outburst several times in shock, this gritty tale is recommended to those that aren't aversed to strong or crude language.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben Hathway
  • 26-07-2020

Good listen

Great yarn, although it actually happened!!!
The author brings the horrors of conflict to life.

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  • Derek M.
  • 26-04-2020

Honest

Brilliant unblinking inside view of an African civil war with little rules and where morality is an afterthought.
Great read and thoroughly recommended.

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  • Madasmad
  • 03-12-2019

A hidden world

An amazing insight not only in to the world of the African mercenary but also a true friendship. This continent has many wonders but nothing shall be realised until the greed and corruption has been stamped out.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-12-2018

Thoughtful account of true friendship

Did I enjoy this audiobook? Overall, yes.

This is a book which feels written in two halves:
- The first half laying down the background and the first 'adventure' is, well ... not badly written, more like it is written in a way that is quite clearly not the natural voice of the author; too many similies, too much (to borrow a term from film) "second unit" narrative. As I say, it is not badly written, it just feels like it would have benefitted from being written more naturallistically in the voice of the author.
- The second half of the book seems to rectify this and feels so much more comfortable within itself. The narrative and the voice telling the narrative pair up so much better and, as a consequence, it flowed better and was much more enjoyable*.

If you are contemplating purchasing this book, please push through the first half as, in my opinion, it improves in the second half.

* Enjoyable is not really a word that sits well with the backdrop to the book, so please do not judge me on my use of this word.

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  • Tony van Bergenhenegouwen
  • 08-12-2018

interesting listen<br />

thanks for the interesting story about the traveling to Africa. worth the time to read