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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 hundred-mile escape from Government troops through dense equatorial jungle. He even had a bounty put on his head.

Surrounded largely by child soldiers high on drugs, Brabazon was accompanied by Nick du Toit, a South African mercenary with a dark 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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Phil
  • Morphett Vale, Australia
  • 07-24-11

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Glen
  • LAKE PROVIDENCE, LA, United States
  • 06-20-12

Cool

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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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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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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War reporting at its finest!

This has to be one of the best 1st person accounts of West African conflict. Once you start this story, you can only see it to the end. Good luck!

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Amazing.

Enthralling and heart breaking. I'm not sure I have ever been so addicted to an audio book. Beabazon not only writes well, but narrates well too.

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  • Performance
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Solid performance, slow second half

I really enjoyed this book overall. A good story recounting the tale of a man's experience filming war with another man he doesn't know and soon befriends due to their living situation in Liberia. The writing is raw and poetic and gives a vivid description of what life in wartime Africa truly is from behind the lens of a journalist.

The only thing I didn't care for was the second half of the book's emphasis on minutiae. Without spoilers, the author goes into extreme detail about operations that I found to be pretty dull. He recounts it from a third person perspective instead of his own. It lacks the much of the emotional flare of the first half of the book where his writing reflects his own personal point of view. By the end of the book, I was actually nostalgic for the first half when he talks about his excursion to Liberia.

But, complaints aside, I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in mercenary work and war time journalism. I think Brabazon is good writer and narrator.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Pure, undiluted reporting, told from the front

If you could sum up My Friend the Mercenary in three words, what would they be?

Pure<br/>Undiluted<br/>Great narration by the author himelf

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Friend the Mercenary?

How the author realized that in order to survive, he had to reprogram his moral compass.

Which scene was your favorite?

All of it was gripping.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I catch myself looking forward to my daily commute and sitting in the garage on returning in order to continue listening.

Any additional comments?

Great, pure, undiluted war story, based on simple, matter-of-fact reporting. No false heroism.<br/>It drew me in and gave me an insight into the war from various points of view. That of a typical local African, that of a South African, that of a rebel, that of a reporter, and that of a mercenary.<br/>It showed me that our view of the local conflicts is naïve at best and dangerously skewed and uninformed at worst.<br/><br/>I am looking forward to more of Mr. Brabazon's books.

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  • Bradley
  • ROSEVILLE, CA, United States
  • 06-04-14

Great book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great book, it's hard to believe what really happens in some corners of the world.

What other book might you compare My Friend the Mercenary to and why?

A crazy thing to do film a war in the bush of Africa.

What about James Brabazon’s performance did you like?

I can't believe that did it

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Some places in the world are very brutal.

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  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-04-11

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • 04-22-13

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MR
  • 01-09-12

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Derek
  • 12-01-11

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeremy
  • 10-25-11

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 11-23-17

What an Amazing Memoir

This book is a must listen. It had me captivated from start to finish and gave me a great insight into places we don't even think about.
How lucky are we to live in relative calm , where in other parts of the world they live a nightmare we simply cannot comprehend.

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  • Lauren
  • 11-19-17

First Class Performance

Gripping listen, brutally honest and incredible descriptions, would highly recommend to anyone political and journalist interests. Fantastic to hear what unfolded from another perspective, and really understand the dilemma journalists face whilst out on location.

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  • claudio
  • 09-01-17

Informative & gripping

James captures his thoughts and describes events in a clear and to the point manner. His morale character and strong friendship with Nick make it easy for the reader to empathise with James... Somewhat looking through the eyes of the writer! (without the billets flying!)
Regards
Claudio

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  • darren
  • 09-28-16

Gripping!

I've listened to this book several times and it still keeps me hooked.
Possibly the best book in my library.
Will no doubt listen to it again and again.
Would recommend this to any one.
So well written and such a fascinating story.

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  • Thomas
  • 09-14-16

A gripping, honest piece of excellent journalism.

Would you listen to My Friend the Mercenary again? Why?

I have listened to and read this book many times. It is probably the most honest account of both the war in Liberia and the failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. It is a fascinating adventure into Africa's heart of darkness full of danger and intrigue. The book offers an excellent insight into the lives of James (a now famous oxbridge journalist) and Nick (South Africa's most famous mercenary). The story of the coup was world news at the time implicating many famous figures in it's architecture and this is by far the most honest and believable account of the events I have read.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes if I had the time I would listen from start to finsh.

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  • Travis
  • 06-15-16

great narrative

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

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  • Justin Spurr
  • 04-12-16

Great story

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

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  • Jason
  • 04-12-16

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.