• My Friend the Mercenary

  • By: James Brabazon
  • Narrated by: James Brabazon
  • Length: 13 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (171 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 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 listeners say about My Friend the Mercenary

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Cool

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

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome

Very well done , I always wanted to know the story about Nick and now I know. Thanks for penning this important journey.

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Brilliant

One of the most interesting and well written story I have listened to ever. A must listen.

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Couldn't stop listening

Loved this book and all the detail, the narration is perfect. I would recommend this to anyone.

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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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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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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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Well written and performed.

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jacky
  • 08-04-14

Another shocking venture into the cruelty Africa

I found the fact that James Brabazon had to blow his own trumpet at the beginning of this book very off putting. He did not need to tell us all how wonderful he is or how well he has done, the narrative of the book said all that and more. If only he had left it to the more subtle references, in the book, to the prizes he won for his documentary work, one would have felt much more inclined to think him less of an egotistical big head.

However, I cannot begin to imagine how I would have felt witnessing some of the horrors that he did during his time in Africa. He writes very well telling the story of his wish to record the war in Liberia, his ventures with his friend Nick, the mercenary, into Liberia and escape out after a disastrous campaign by the LURD, his illness and bodily weakness, which took many months to overcome. It was a horrifying tale of violence and mindless cruelty witnessed by someone who could do nothing to stop some of the terrible acts of inhumanity.

Brabazon reads the book so very much better than Simon Mann read his own book about mercenary life 'Cry Havoc' but it would have been better read by a competent actor. You will find some reference to the plight of Mann, in this book as this tale relates the horrors of the time his friend Nick has, after capture, during the failed coup d'etat they were both involved in.

Not a book for the weak of stomach but a witness to some of the terrible inhumanity of man to man.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Johnny
  • 08-30-20

Wow!

This is a great story a must listen for anyone that can handle the truth of world politics and how history and what. We know today and thought we new then is Enlightening to day the least
There is no good guys just lambs
An honest account of a friendship being made through war or adversity . James gives his thoughts without holding back

Well done and thanks !

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Morgan
  • 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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-21

incredible

At first I thought this might not be the easiest listen because of the narrators voice.....but then once I got past the first hour, the whole thing came to life and even though there were times when it was difficult to distinguish between who was who or who was speaking, I felt like I was there in all of the rough, nerve shredding detail. In the end, the sound of James voice was like listening to a good mate and the whole story is one that will stay with me for a long time to come. Thanks.

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  • sam
  • 04-07-21

Outstanding from the start

Outstanding wish it didn’t have to end. Crazy story from the start. Excellent narration. More please

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric
  • 12-08-20

Incredible Book

Unprecedented insights into the brutality and visceral nature of war, brilliantly told and with nail-biting and shocking sections. Highly recommend.

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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.