The freelance solider, or mercenary, whether fighting for money or reputation or an adopted cause, has always been a fascinating and controversial phenomenon. Now, as a result of the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has become not simply a mercenary but a vital part of modern and privatized warfare. For some, he is a heroic figure, doing the work governments are too squeamish to admit to; for others, he is a bloodthirsty killer. In Tony Geraghty's starling history, he sheds new light on their activities, which has until now been shrouded in secrecy. Many of the soldiers have spoken to the author about their experiences for the first time, revealing details of operations that have never before been reported in the media.