Adventure traveller Pelton turned his attention to the growing use of mercenaries by Western governments after running into a team of contractors on the Afghan-Pakistan border in 2003.
The result was this book, which combines firsthand reportage from war-zones across the globe with some very significant investigative journalism about private military companies like Aegis and Blackwater.
Pelton provides the best account yet of how Aegis won its controversial US Government contract in Iraq. He also cover Simon Mann's 'Wonga Coup' attempt in Equatorial Guinea, in a chapter which quotes some interesting sources on the British Government's role.
His on the-ground reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan provides a unique insight into the emerging private military culture. Yet without moralising, he raises profound questions about a phenomenon that seems to be here to stay.