on January 24, 2013
The book is a action adventure story that takes place during the Congo Independence war in 1960. A company of gendarmes under the command of mercenaries are tasked to rescue some civilians and diamonds from a secluded town.
The story has a redemption drama as the four mercenaries all have personal histories that need redemption. All find their deliverance, except the one who finds justice. The redemption drama is a story within a story; as the soldiers execute the rescue they are rescued from their own socio-spiritual conditions. The writing might be pre-modern in philosophy because of the references to god and the idea that some are rescued in contrast to those who die.
In my opinion the book is case study in bad leadership. The commander decides not to travel at night and wastes about 12 or more hours and that sets the stage for 4 gun fights and the loss of life. In another scenario the commander decides to rebuild the burnt out bridge, when he could have used the dredger barges in the town to get across the river. Another bad decision was the failure to handcuff the bad mercenary after he murdered the two children; he later rapes the girl and steals the diamonds. The last bad decision was to decide to fight hand to hand with the bad mercenary, instead of going back to where the dead tracker's gun was abandoned.
Despite all that the hero wins in the end. Yes, it is just fiction and a good read at that. The story could be used in leadership studies, but its good enough to sit back and read a good book.