“As I rose to my knees behind the cover of a giant tree, I brought up the barrel of my FAL assault rifle, flicked the weapon to automatic, and took aim at the truck full of troops. There were all staring down the road ahead. One of them was leaning with his left arm over the edge of the truck, a rifle clutched in his right hand. Over the haze from the muzzle blast, I saw men bouncing and jumping. Another burst straight into them. Click – the mag was empty…"
Karl Penta is a tough, wiry Liverpudlian with a Scouser's natural dark humour. He has served in many of the world's hotspots: Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Kosovo. It was whilst in Sri Lanka that he saw an advert for ex-military personnel to work abroad.
Soon Penta found himself in Surinam. His brief: to bring down the government. Within weeks, the government was on its knees.
The twists and turns of this operation are still going on, but Penta feels it is now safe to tell the whole story in this book.
In his second book of memoirs, Liverpool-born Karl Penta once again lifts the lid on the shady, dangerous, arduous and occasionally farcical world of the mercenary soldier. Here Penta tells of his time in the mid-1980s spent fighting for the rebels in Surinam. He got the job by answering a classified advertisement in the International Herald Tribune that said, 'MEN WANTED Ex-military personnel to work abroad.' Penta's story is of a world in which the violence and hardship of jungle warfare are almost an aside to the tales of the shifty, shady international war backers, would-be Rambos, guerrilla forces who believe in voodoo, spies and counter-spies, arms dealers, fake arms dealers, plane hijacks, strange hangers-on, film crews and a leader who spends all his time playing video games. Penta proves his worth in the jungle struggle, bringing organization, determination and ingenuity to his task, taking the rebels to the edge of success and himself to an unwelcome international notoriety. In the end it turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that not everyone is who they seem and there are many hidden agendas. Throughout it all deceit, betrayal and corruption are never far away and it is Penta's instinctive lack of trust in his fellow man that seems to be his best weapon and certainly the reason for his eventual survival. Penta's matter-of-fact approach to the violence and brutality that he encounters and metes out underlines the sense of idiocy that permeates many of the events. Penta never questions his raison d'etre as a mercenary, a fact which some may find disturbing, but it is a position which gives the book much of its energy and sting. One thing is for sure: having read this memoir, it's unlikely that you'll feel inspired to apply for any similar Men Wanted advertisements yourself. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 12th May 2003
Dimensions (cm): 19.2 x 12.8 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.222