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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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well written and performed.

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon Francis
  • 07-31-18

Brilliantly constructed and written

Thoroughly enjoyable read and journey into a time and place that so many aren’t even aware took place. Couldn’t put it down.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • jjm
  • 01-16-18

from the horses mouth

James Brabazon delivers his story better than many professional readers. it's an amazing yarn of adventure, intrigue, and mystery, set against the backdrop of a civil war. highly recommend this harrowing story of survival, journalism and friendship.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elaine
  • 01-13-18

uncomfortable

Choices. Dangerous things. Compromises even more so. A superb exploration of friendship and humanity. This book made me think and will.continue to do so

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • AdyW
  • 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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Justin Spurr
  • 04-12-16

Great story

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.