Mercenaries haven’t really been a staple of mainstream thrillers since the ’80s. Tom Clancy introduced Jack Ryan, an analyst, as the hero of his techno-thrillers, and it seemed to set the tone for much of the genre to come. Harold Coyle’s heroes were mostly tankers. Dale Brown’s were bomber pilots. As the GWOT got started, even the more shadowy operatives, like Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp and Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan were still directly operating within the government apparatus, if so black that they “didn’t exist.” So, why did I go with mercenaries for the Praetorian series, Kill Yuan, and the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series? Well, I think that has several answers.
Tim Lynch, over on Free Range International, which I’ve read off and on for years now, makes some points related to not only the recent kerfuffle over the Erik Prince/DynCorp proposal for privatizing the war in Afghanistan, but about professional soldiers in general. It is a point that I’ve tried to make, in different ways, with both the American Praetorian series and Kill Yuan. Have you not heard about this? Of course not because it counters the legacy media narrative about so -called “mercenaries” while illustrating the uselessness of the United Nations in combating terrorism. Eeben Barrlow and his men are not mercenaries in any sense of the word. There is not a snow ball’s chance in hell that Joseph Kony or any other terrorist organization could hire them no matter how much money they paid. They are former military professionals who, although retired, remain military professionals willing to endure primitive conditions for months on end to teach their expertise to appropriate clientele. The concepts that Prince is talking about and that Feral Jundi and I have been writing about for years work. All of us know that because all of us have done it. The only question regarding the
This post is a bit of an apology, truth be told. I reviewed this book a few years ago, on the now-defunct “Hot Extract.” Overall, I found the book to be a decent shooter thriller, and something of a wish-fulfillment fantasy for a lot of shooters who have been in the sandbox and the rock-pile, chasing ghosts and being yanked back by the choke-chain by higher whenever it seemed like they might get somewhere to the shooters and go too far to higher.