The most recommended books about mercenary groups

Who picked these books? Meet our 16 experts.

16 authors created a book list connected to mercenary groups, and here are their favorite mercenary group books.
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Book cover of Dogs of War: A Spy Thriller

Eric Coulson Author Of The Chrysalis Option

From my list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been in love with London and the UK since I started reading British thrillers over 40 years ago. When I finally had the chance to live in London as a US diplomat, I was able to see so many of those places that had filled my imagination for years. I have my JD from Southern Illinois University. I have worked for the US Army and the US State Department. I now support my wife Karen, who is a US Diplomat.

Eric's book list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain

Eric Coulson Why did Eric love this book?

I have loved this book for 40 years and have read it almost annually.

Forsyth’s detailed descriptions of all aspects of the book make you think you are on the streets of London, in the meetings and the restaurants. While much of the action takes place abroad, its beating heart is London. When I lived there, I visited many of the places described.

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dogs of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author Frederick Forsyth delivers an international thriller that takes readers into the darkest hearts of men and nations…
 
In a remote corner of the impoverished African republic of Zangaro lies Crystal Mountain. At certain times of the day, the mountain itself seems to glow with a strange light. Only the ruthless and untouchable tycoon Sir James Manson knows why: the mountain contains billions of dollars worth of the world’s most valuable mineral—platinum. And he wants it all.

To do so, he must first remove the unfriendly government currently in power and replace it with a…


Book cover of Dawnthief

Tom Lloyd Author Of Stranger of Tempest

From my list on the best mercenary bands money can hire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing fantasy for two decades now and still, I can’t resist a foul-mouthed rogue with a grubby soul. They’re usually the most entertaining characters to write and in the long days of plugging away at a book, they’re often the ones that remind you what’s so fun about the job. When I started Stranger of Tempest it was (pretty much solely) with that in mind – I wanted a disparate band of crazed, badass idiots to go on an adventure with and see where it took me. Of course, as I got to know them I found there was more to their tales than that, but it was fun right to the end!

Tom's book list on the best mercenary bands money can hire

Tom Lloyd Why did Tom love this book?

The Raven is your classic band of mercs, a found-family of warriors caught up in world-ending levels of chaos. This is much more 90s style fantasy and unashamedly so – serious, sword-swinging, spell-casting stuff. As a result, you have to buy into that a bit given how the genre has changed, but at the same time, the series is all about the consequences of actions rather than any pretence about happily ever after so there’s real meat to it.

By James Barclay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dawnthief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chronicles of the Raven: One

ELITE, UNSTOPPABLE ... AND HIRED TO DO THE UNTHINKABLE

The Raven are an elite. Formed of six men and an elf, they're swords for hire in the wars that have torn their land apart. For years their only loyalty has been to themselves, and to their code.

But that time is coming to an end. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, on a mission which soon becomes a race for the secret location of Dawnthief. It's a spell - one created to end the…


Book cover of The Undercurrent

Maree Kimberley Author Of Dirt Circus League

From my list on girl power young adult sci-fi and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love young adult fiction. I especially love it when female characters face their fears and fight for what’s right. And if they’re not afraid to run headfirst into a battle, even better. I think it’s incredibly important for young women to have access to books that break free of female stereotypes. None of the heroines in these books are waiting for someone to save them. They’re in the thick of it, confronting their demons, and maybe slaying a few, too! My PhD explored power and belonging in YA fiction, and I’ve written and presented on the importance of strong female characters. Here’s to girl power!

Maree's book list on girl power young adult sci-fi and fantasy

Maree Kimberley Why did Maree love this book?

There’s nothing I like more than fast-paced action adventure with a gutsy heroine. Add a bit of electricity — and by that I mean an uncontrollable electrical undercurrent that surges beneath the heroine’s skin — and I know I’m going to be hooked. This YA sci-fi-romance is peppered with intrigue and activism as the novel’s heroine, Julianne, crosses Australia from the city to the outback to investigate who caused the explosion that trapped her and the attractive but secretive Ryan in a city elevator. She encounters activists, suffering farming families, greedy corporations, and the military in her quest to uncover the truth, and kicks quite a few butts along the way. If you love action-adventure with real heart as much as I do, check out The Undercurrent.

By Paula Weston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Undercurrent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi is different. As in: she has an electrical undercurrent that stings and surges beneath her skin. She can use it―to spark a fire, maybe even end a life―but she doesn’t understand what it is. And she can barely control it, especially when she’s anxious. Then she meets Ryan Walsh. She doesn’t know he’s a soldier working for a secret unit that has her under surveillance. He doesn’t know what it is that’s making the sparks fly between them. And neither of them knows who caused the explosion that has them trapped in an elevator together. Great…


Book cover of The Making of a Legionnaire: My Life in the French Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment

Jaime Salazar Author Of Legion of the Lost: The true experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion

From my list on the French Foreign Legion from someone who joined.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1999, I followed my childhood dreams and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. In 2005, I published my first work, Legion of the Lost, which chronicles my swashbuckling experience serving in the French Foreign Legion. This is my story. 

Jaime's book list on the French Foreign Legion from someone who joined

Jaime Salazar Why did Jaime love this book?

This tome was the size of a phone book but it has relevance even today. It's one of the slightly obscure classics but it speaks to the profound spiritual questions that transcend time. Parris was an idealist Englishman who served in the legion in the early 90s. but this was not a story of glory and medals. Parris saw action in Chad and had to spill blood. This chilling act never left him and he was haunted by his actions for years to come. The author passed from illness but dedicated the book to his son.

By Bill Parris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of a Legionnaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penniless, divorced and AWOL from the British forces, Bill Parris volunteered for the French Foreign Legion in the early 1980s. Unlike many British volunteers to the Legion, Bill did not desert. He endured a horrendous training regime and, despite a fear of heights (!) joined the elite Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment. He discovered how women from all over the world flock to Corsica where the Legion is based - so his R&R was almost as exhausting as the jungle warfare school he was later sent to. This is more than a war story - it is a personal journey too,…


Book cover of Broken Angels

Ted Cross Author Of The Immortality Game

From my list on sci-fi books to enjoy while expanding your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

My lifelong passion for history and culture led me to become a science fiction writer. I like to view history as not only the story of what has already happened, but also what is going to happen to humanity. I love to spend time thinking about the vast universe and what humanity’s evolving role will be, should we manage to survive our own self-destructive tendencies. I love history so much that I wish I were immortal, just so I could witness it all, and that, naturally, has led me to read so many sci-fi books featuring forms of immortality, and incorporating my own version of technical immortality into my writing.

Ted's book list on sci-fi books to enjoy while expanding your mind

Ted Cross Why did Ted love this book?

Everyone has heard of Altered Carbon, but I actually prefer this second book in the series. The idea of digital immortality in these books really made me wonder what that very advanced technology might have been like when it was just being invented. That eventually led me to develop my own answer to that question in my own sci-fi novel. I so love the scene where Kovacs buys cortical stacks in bulk in a street market so he can fish through them to find appropriate team members to help him out on his mission.

By Richard K. Morgan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Broken Angels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifty years after the events of ALTERED CARBON Takeshi Kovacs is serving as a mercenary in the Procterate sponsored war to put down Joshuah Kemp's revolution on the planet Sanction IV. He is offered the chance to join a covert team chasing a prize whose value is limitless and whose dangers are endless. Here is a novel that takes mankind to the brink. A breakneck-paced crime thriller ALTERED CARBON took its readers deep into the universe Morgan had so compellingly realised without ever letting them escape the onward rush of the plot. BROKEN ANGELS melds SF, the war novel and…


Book cover of The Hard Way

Chuck Barrett Author Of The Savannah Project

From my list on spy thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I cut my teeth loving the intrigue of the spy world. Days of old TV shows like Man from U.N.C.L.E. (the original not the remake). All the James Bond movies—old and new. As a child, I had a Man from U.N.C.L.E. spy kit, equipped with a miniature camera and all. It seemed only fitting that when I started writing, I stayed with what I loved. The espionage thriller genre has evolved over time to a more sophisticated, action-packed storyline…which is right up my alley.

Chuck's book list on spy thrillers

Chuck Barrett Why did Chuck love this book?

I met Lee Child within a few weeks of this book being released. I had never read anything by Child and honestly, hadn't even heard of him prior to that meeting. I bought his book, got it autographed, and read it. His style was different from any other author I had read to that point. I liked his rogue character, Jack Reacher, and the way Child put that character into more and more peril as the story progressed. Having said all that, I had a character in my writing that, in many ways, resembled Reacher. Lee child's writing had a major influence in the crafting of my Gregg Kaplan character and series.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hard Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack Reacher is alone, the way he likes it.

He watches a man cross a New York street and drive away in a Mercedes. The car contains $1 million of ransom money. Reacher's job is to make sure it all turns out right - money paid, family safely returned.

But Reacher is in the middle of a nasty little war where nothing is simple.

What started on a busy New York street explodes three thousand miles away, in the sleepy English countryside.

Reacher's going to have to do this one the hard way.

_________

Although the Jack Reacher novels can…


Book cover of Kings of the Wyld

James Dwyer Author Of Acheron Valley

From James' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Fighter

James' 3 favorite reads in 2023

James Dwyer Why did James love this book?

I love this book because it’s a world where bands of monster-fighting mercenaries are treated like rock stars, and for good reason: because they’re awesome as hell!

It has kickass characters like Ganelon, whose bandmates are simply the last four people he’d kill, and who’s fine so long as he’s still holding his beer.

If you’re looking for a book that has epic fights with the world’s shortest, most stubborn Minotaur or a book with characters who like to pray to whichever god is responsible for killing random people with the corpses of chimeras, then this is the book for you!

By Nicholas Eames,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Kings of the Wyld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An outstanding debut which will make you laugh and cry and hold your breath. This is a book that has it all' - K. J. Parker Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best - the meanest, dirtiest, most feared and admired crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. But their glory days are long past; the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then a former bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help: his daughter Rose is trapped in a city…


Book cover of Zero Footprint: The True Story of a Private Military Contractor's Covert Assignments in Syria, Libya, and the World's Most Dangerous Places

Robert Patrick Lewis Author Of Love Me When I'm Gone: The True Story of Life, Love, and Loss for a Green Beret in Post-9/11 War.

From my list on non-fiction on US special operations at war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former Green Beret and combat veteran of OIF (Iraq), OEF (Afghanistan), and OEF-TS (North Africa). My first unit within Special Forces is the oldest within SF, and as such, I had the opportunity to work alongside some legends amongst men, people who were there in the early days of Special Operations. After leaving Special Forces I have written three published Special Operations-focused books, both fiction and non-fiction, which has led to a life of studying everything there is to know about Special Operations, the intelligence behind wars, and the history of both.

Robert's book list on non-fiction on US special operations at war

Robert Patrick Lewis Why did Robert love this book?

Many Americans who follow geopolitics, the military, or our nation’s involvement in the Global War on Terror know that Private Military Contractors (PMCs) have become a way in which much of these covert and clandestine wars are fought. Even those who know that PMCs exist don’t know much about the types of missions they do, the types of people who staff these outfits, and the places that they’ve been in modern military history.

Zero Footprint chronicles the exploits of one British citizen on his path from a member of the heralded British Tier 1 unit The Special Air Service (SAS). The book follows his life from what he thought was a career-ending injury that led to his being on the frontlines of every major engagement in the clandestine Global War on Terror. This guy was even in Benghazi the night of the famed “13 hours” attack, and this book gives…

By Simon Chase, Ralph Pezzullo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zero Footprint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This national bestseller is a dramatic insider account of the world of private military contracting.

Armored cars, burner phones, top-notch weaponry and top-secret missions -- this is the life of today's private military contractor. Like author Simon Chase, many PMCs were once the world's top military operatives, and since retiring from outfits like US Navy SEAL TEAM Six and the UK's Special Boat Service, they have devoted their lives to executing sensitive and hazardous missions overseas.

Working at the request of U.S. and British government entities as well as for private clients, he takes on jobs that require "zero footprint,"…


Book cover of Song of Scarabaeus

Kay Camden Author Of Unquiet

From my list on a perfect blend of fantasy/adventure/romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ll admit I’m a terribly picky reader. My specific taste doesn’t seem to fit in one genre and is sometimes hard to nail down—literary prose with genre tropes, softly-integrated worldbuilding, adventure that leaves room for reflection, and a love story subplot that’s more mental than physical. I love anti-heroes and angst and stories that get a bit dark—but not too dark. When I find it, I’m hooked and obsessed, and I feel like I’m twelve years old again, reading late into the night with a flashlight under the covers. That exprience is what I’m always hunting for, and what I attempt to recreate in my own writing. 

Kay's book list on a perfect blend of fantasy/adventure/romance

Kay Camden Why did Kay love this book?

Song of Scarabaeus is sci-fi, not fantasy, but it definitely has that perfect blend: just enough adventure, just enough sci-fi/fantasy, just enough of a love story. The relationship between the two characters, a scientist and her bodyguard, creates instant on-page tension. I can’t spoil why, but it’s an interesting life-and-death situation that kept me turning pages. With this captivating plot, great characterization, realistic dialogue, and expert worldbuilding, I wish I could erase my memory of this book and experience it all over again. 

By Sara Creasy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Song of Scarabaeus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A powerful debut….Gripping characterization, non-stop action, fascinating biological speculation, and a dash of romance. Don’t miss it!”
—Linnea Sinclair

 

Remember the name: Sara Creasy. With Song of Scarabaeus she takes her place alongside Ann Aguirre and Linnea Sinclair, staking her claim as one of the most exciting new writers currently rocketing across the science fiction universe. Seamlessly blending action, romance, intrigue, technology, and a tough, complex, and unforgettable heroine in the vein of Elizabeth Moon, Creasyboldly goes where few have traveled before. No wonder author Vonda N. McIntyre declares that “Sara Creasy is a new writer to watch, and Song…


Book cover of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs, and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa

Alex Finley Author Of Victor in the Rubble

From my list on adventures in Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have traveled throughout Africa and had the great opportunity to live in West Africa for two years, while I was working for the CIA. That experience was wild and challenging, but also transforming. West Africa became the setting for my first novel, Victor in the Rubble, because I loved the absurdity and adventure I experienced there, where nothing is logical but everything makes sense. I have read a number of novels that take place in different parts of Africa, as well as a wide array of nonfiction books about various African countries, their history, and their leaders. There are so many great stories there that pique my interest and inspire me.

Alex's book list on adventures in Africa

Alex Finley Why did Alex love this book?

This is a true story that reads like a geopolitical spy thriller, with reckless mercenaries, colorful dictators, and money, money, money.

This is one of the first books I ever read about outsiders looking to take advantage of Africa’s natural resources and the havoc that wreaks.

It revealed to me some of the darkest realities of Africa, the ruthlessness of some leaders, the ubiquitous corruption, and the desire of profiteers to take advantage of it all.

By Adam Roberts,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wonga Coup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country roughly the size of the state of Maryland. Humid, jungle covered, and rife with unpleasant diseases, natives call it Devil Island. Its president in 2004, Obiang Nguema, had been accused of cannibalism, belief in witchcraft, mass murder, billiondollar corruption, and general rule by terror. With so little to recommend it, why in March 2004 was Equatorial Guinea the target of a group of salty British, South African and Zimbabwean mercenaries, travelling on an American-registered ex-National Guard plane specially adapted for military purposes, that was originally flown to Africa by American pilots? The real motive…