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Only The Dead: An African War [Kindle Edition]

M W Duncan
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 146 pages
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Book Description

When does someone else’s battle become your own? Sent to train Liberian rebels to fight a corrupt government, Mark finds himself in the midst of chaos when the war erupts around him. Shadowed by a naive reporter, the unlikely allies struggle to survive the harsh jungles of Africa while eluding enemy forces and a warlord who doesn’t recognise friend from foe. Set during the Second Liberian Civil War, Only The Dead: An African War is a novella about friendship, morality, war and consequence.

An African War is the first in the Only The Dead series of novellas

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 316 KB
  • Print Length: 146 pages
  • Publisher: M.W. Duncan; 1 edition (9 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CAO35UG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #491,393 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

M.W.Duncan lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He started writing at a young age on a typewriter his mother bought him. He still has the first story he ever wrote "Aliens In Trouble" where a group of children are recruited by aliens to fight in a intergalactic war. Now he has written the first in the Only The Dead series of novellas, An African War.

He has released Carrion City with Severed Press and is working on the sequel. When not writing he is studying to become a counsellor at Aberdeen University. He spends too much time gaming and reading. You can find his blog here

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter the Liberian jungle... 13 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was planning to read this after finishing another longer novel I'm reading. I thought I'd read just the beginning out of curiosity. A few days later having spent any spare moment I had reading it I'd finished.

There is an immersive writing style at work here which I prize in a writer when I can find it. This writing style along with plenty of interesting events happening all the time (a fast pace plot) quickly drew me in.
You feel like you are in the Liberian jungle with Mark.
It is often the case that an immersive writing style comes coupled with plodding slow plot progression. That is not the case here.

The real treat in this story is the well observed and well developed characters. It's all about Mark (sometimes called Mak) a private security operator (don't call him a mercenary) and his relationship with Kyle a journalist in the Liberian jungle during a civil war. Things go bad and they have to escape to civilisation. A simple enough concept done well and infused with human psychology. The story is told in the first person from Mark's perspective. The way the relationship evolves between the two men as their situation becomes darker is beautifully handled with turning points in the action and their relationship coming at well-timed points in the story. It feels realistic and believable. It is sometimes quite touching without going over the top with sentimentality. Perhaps the presence of violence in the story highlights this further.

From an academic perspective I am fairly sure I can see a story structure I recognise at work here. The right things are happening in the right phases of the story which is complete with plot points in the right places that keep up the dramatic tension. It is very well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing and Enthralling. A real page turner. 13 Jun. 2013
Only the dead is set at the time of the second Liberian Civil War and follows a British military consultant Mark (shadowed by an independent war reporter Kyle) as he and a rebel militia group evacuate the invaded town of Zorzor and make their way through hostile terrain under enemy fire.

Only the dead is told from the perspective of the main character, Mark, thus providing an intense first person perspective of the situation as it unfolds. Mark appears to have developed an acceptance to the horrors around him, such as the violent beating of prisoners, child-soldiers bearing arms and endless bloody conflicts. The secondary character, Kyle, is clearly very naïve and would reflect the typical Western opinion of the war in Africa of disgust and outrage. It is this relationship which I find most interesting in the story as the author uses both characters to emphasise the contrasting opinions of the West and Africa toward the civil war, this is very much a war fought in Africa by Africans for Africans and the opinions of the West carry very little weight in the warzone by the opposing leaders and those caught up in the conflict.

As for writing style, the story is generally very well written and I found it very easy to be captivated. There were a couple of paragraphs which I feel could have been rewritten and improved but these are few and far between.

I would say as a developing author, this work shows great promise for the future. The author has clearly researched this emotive war and created a work which reflects the horrors of the Second Liberian War
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immersive and dramatic 2 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A distinct writing style and a beautiful flow; the writer needs to resist telling when they could show, but this is a compelling read. The word choices and descriptions will pull you in, being detailed but without overloading the reader. The opening could be more exciting, but the locations and writing quality were sufficient. I really felt like I was in Africa when I was reading, such was the suspension of disbelief and this is the mark of a very good writer. There are some very intense, emotionally charged scenes and the narrative is gripping throughout. This is one of the better ebooks I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Sarah
I read my copy of ONLY THE DEAD: AN AFRICAN WAR after a free kindle edition was offered on Amazon. I’d exchanged a few tweets with Duncan at the time, and agreed to give it a try. I’m very glad I ventured outside of my usual reading genre. This book was so graphically descriptive; I repeatedly asked the author if his writing was drawn from life experience (it wasn’t.)

ONLY THE DEAD: AN AFRICAN WAR is about an English mercenary, Mark, who gets cut off from the rest of his company while training the crazy rebel leader and consort in Liberia. His adventures are shared with Kyle, an American journalist. Together, they brave horrific battle scenes, near starvation, fetid latrines, and jubilant escape, forging a strong friendship along the way.

In addition to the evocative portrayal of the African landscape, Kyle and Mark have some terrific comedic exchanges amidst the worst moments of their situation. Growing up with brothers, I found the comfort they take in one another completely believable. Although not suitable for an evening of light reading, I whole-heartedly recommend this novella. I’m very curious to see where Duncan will take his characters in the next installment of the series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story...
Only the dead, follows the journey of 'company' man, Mark, as he finds himself having to flee the failed rebel uprising in Liberia. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Fantasy Queen
5.0 out of 5 stars The authors descriptive narrative made me feel like I was actually...
Before I begin my review of Only The Dead by M W Duncan I have to say that this is not my usual genre of book, but when I got into the story I found it difficult to put down . Read more
Published 3 months ago by rose H
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal but worth read.
Mark, a really enjoyable read, brutal in parts but you do warn about that, the whole thing felt personal and i felt I was in Liberia with you at times. Read more
Published 5 months ago by George Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping, exciting read
Loved this book, couldn't put it down! Well written, with an excellent, descriptive and imaginative narrative. Can't wait for more!
Published 8 months ago by japple99
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
Great read, I enjoyed it first on Kindle and on wanting to re-read it I bought it on paperback. It feels hard to review as I prefer seeing films or reading books on recommendation... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars gripping
Slightly more frightening than my usual read but got to end in one piece. Well written and realisticly graphic in places.
Published 12 months ago by .mcmahon
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral but beautifully told story
Only The Dead: An African War is the first in a series of novellas written by Aberdeenshire author, M. W. Duncan. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal! So well researched and a superb story! Five Stars!
I bought this book for my Kindle just before going on holiday. I very rarely buy fiction books, but having recently bought a non-fiction title about the genocide in Rwanda, I came... Read more
Published 17 months ago by RicharD RicharD
5.0 out of 5 stars Quickest time I've ever read a book!
It has been a long time since I have read a book that I just could not put down but Only The Dead: An African War kept me entertained the whole time. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Domino Master
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