Book Review : Special Forces – Mercenaries Part 1 (Special Forces #2)

Book Review : Special Forces – Mercenaries Part 1 (Special Forces #2)


Special Forces is the story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet spetsnaz soldier. Two enemies who meet in the line of duty during the early days of the Soviet Union’s last war in Afghanistan. Behind enemy lines respect and finally love grow … but that’s only the official version. This epic spans across over twenty-five years of their lives. It’s harsh and violent, but life is cruel and they just do what they need to survive.

Special Forces – Mercenaries is the second cycle of the Special Forces epic, which consists of three cycles and about a million words. The Mercenaries cycle is so large, it is available in two parts, of which this is the first part. The first cycle is Soldiers and the third one is Veterans.


Please note that in this review, there will be spoilers from book 1 , Special Forces – Soldiers , so if you haven’t already check out my review on the first book, click here.



A Sneak Peek Into The Story :


Special Forces – Mercernaries continues where the first book left off. Vadim is now in the possession of the KGB after they found out that he has been having an affair with Daniel McFadyen – who was once in the British Special Forces. Now not only that the KGB now knows that Vadim is a “faggot”, the KGB also assume that Vadim has been selling out all the military’s plans and strategies to the enemy for a good lay. 

So now, ten months later and Vadim is still in the same situation. In all of ten months, it is always the same. They screwed with the times when light was on at the end of the corridor, screwed with the rhythm that is supposed to be his meal. Nobody ever said a single word, there aren’t even any sounds or signs of the living form his neighboring cells. He is always alone in that hole. Always alone and cold. The darkness and numbing silence is only broken when they interrupt his sleep by emptying a bucket of water over him. Just to wake him up and increase his suffering. There is no steady rhythm to his sleep, his awakening, no rhythm his body could remember or hold on to. He knows the KGB made sure of that.


Special Forces Mercenary Part I


He spend days tied down or chained up for no other reason but to make life more miserable for his and not allow a dulling of the discomfort. Sometimes they will also deprive him from sleep, food. Vadim knows this method well, but  they still cut to the bone. He does not want to admit it, but while the chains and constant beating was bad, the fact that they make sure he has no human contact whatsoever is worse. For the first few months, Vadim promised himself that no matter what the KGB does to him, he will never break. Because of Dan. Because Dan loves him and Dan will find a way to come for him and save him from this hell hole.


“Daniel Ewan McFadyen.

Dark eyes. Huffed laughter.

That man’s body close to his, moving, holding him, reaching inside,

opening him up and making him whole.”


Vadim used to think of Dan, think of all the good moments and use those memories of them bantering, of them having sex and taking care of each other to get him through the brutal torture. Even then, Vadim has replayed those moments so many times over, even those memories has been sucked dry. So when the door to his cell opens and they drags him out into another room, Vadim finds himself not caring at all what will happen next. He is no longer his own person. He did not resist, did not fight. Even the fear has dulled into a nameless dread that feels completely impersonal.


Book Review : Special Forces – Mercenaries Part 1 (Special Forces #2)


That is when Vadim feels a hand touching his neck and he is grateful for the touch, for a moment of non-pain. A moment of warmth. And that is when he hears it, the voice. It is the voice of the man that brought him to this hell. But his world has become so small that this man and his voice alone more that fill it out. Vadim wants nothing more that to rest, to end all of this and to rest for the rest of his life. That is when the man, with his hand still on Vadim’s neck mentioned he sign the confession. The confession that Vadim indeed sells out the military information to the British Special Forces. The confession that he, Vadim Krasnorada, disgraces himself with a British soldier.

Vadim remember vaguely that he should not sign the confession. That it was what put him here in the first place. And because that is nowhere near the truth. But Vadim is already so exhausted. And the man promised that if Vadim signs the confession then there will be no more of this. No more of this torture and pain and beating. So he takes the pen, and writes his name on the paper.

Dan on the other hand, is frantic. He has been spending the last 10 months trying to find a way to get Vadim out of KGB’s reach. He has tried again and again, has thought of every way that he can get Vadim free, has threatened and beg his contacts for any help at all, but there is nothing. And when he is called by the British ambassador – who is also his friend – to her office, Dan knows something is wrong with Vadim.


“Perhaps it was insane to tell Vadim he was alive, and he still loved him;

had fought for him, would fight forever, if only he could.”


And when the Baroness shows him the copy of the official document that she receives from Moscow, Dan’s world crumbles. Dan has been too late. He has run out of time and the truth is right there, written in black bold letters in the document. In the paper it writes , “Vadim Petrovich Krasnorada has been sentenced to death for the crime of High Treason to the Soviet Union. He has signed the confession of having delivered sensitive information to a British subject and member of the British Special Forces, whilst in the employ and confidence of the Soviet Army. Vadim Petrovich Krasnorada will be executed at 0500 hrs on February 7th 1990.”


Review : 


To be honest, I am not quite sure where to start with this book. I had such high expectation going into this book as the first one – Special Forces : Soldiers  – blew my mind away with how well written and good the plot was and how well developed both Dan and Vadim’s character was. I was so deeply invested in these two characters that it feels like I become one with them. It was as if it they were not just mere characters anymore, these authors breathed life into both Dan and Vadim and brought them to life. 


Book Review : Special Forces – Mercenaries Part 1 (Special Forces #2)


When it comes to Special Forces – Soldiers, I can quite literally talk non-stop about how good that book was. But this one sadly, flopped. I don’t know if it was because I expected too much out of the book or it was because the different direction the authors decided to take this book to, but I could not get into the story at all.


“He would go anywhere to meet Vadim, no matter where.


Back into hell or across the frozen Afghan mountains on his own. ”


For the first quarter of the book, the story was tolerable. Even though both Dan and Vadim was separated and it was painful reading it, it is still very apparent that they are both in love with each other and want to fight for what they have. However, come the second quarter of the book, it is as if the Dan that I have always come to love and adore just vanishes out of thin air. 


Book Review : Special Forces – Mercenaries Part 1 (Special Forces #2)


Dan becomes this vile and cruel character that seems to only focus on nothing but his own needs and his own pleasure. I cannot believe that he could be so selfish and so self-centered. Not only that, when the first quarter of the book seem to still have some capacity of value to it, the story from the second quarter onwards is just a mess. Rather than a story about soldiers who fights, strategize and train with each other, it downright becomes something more or less like a soap opera with orgy thrown into the mix. 

There are a lot of new characters added into the book who’s main prerogative seems to be to clog the plot. All the while  adding no real value whatsoever to the story. They would spread rumors and gossip for no good reason than to start petty fights. And the more I read, the more I feel like I am reading some kind of book about high-school drama rather than a book about soldiers. 


“He cried, you understand? Damned Mad Dog cried. Drunk, for what? For you. For fucking you! ”

“He cried? We all do. Enough vodka, and we cry.”


As for Vadim – bless him and his pure soul – he is the only one I can tolerate in this book. Actually, he might be the only reason why I continue to push myself to read 50% of the book before throwing in the towel. He doesn’t change, not one bit. Even after everything that he has been through, Vadim is still the same fierce and devoted man that I have come to know and love. Although as much as I adore Vadim, even he can only hold my interest for so long. 


“It’s not your war.” 

“Used to be ours. Only ours.”


I am a minority in my opinion on this book as a lot of people seem to enjoy the story a lot. And I am glad for those who do. It’s just when I go into a book,  I am more interested in what is going on with the main characters rather than all those side characters, and the side characters are what the authors seems to be more focused on in this book. For me personally, I don’t think I will continue reading down the series . Which is actually quite disappointing as I loved the first book with everything I have in me, but the second book in this series just doesn’t cut it. For me, the story of Dan and Vadim ended in book one and that is how I want to remember them. 


Vadim. Would he feel fear? Or would he be numb? Would the bullet tear into his brain in terror?
Vadim. Would he think of him at the end?
Five seconds…four…three…two…
Dan’s lips moved, but no sound. “Farewell.”


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