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If you’re in the market for a gripping audiobook to add to your collection, look no further than James Ashcroft’s “Escape from Baghdad: First Time Was For the Money, This Time It’s Personal.” This exciting thriller takes listeners on a wild ride through war-torn Iraq, following the lives and dangerous escapades of the protagonist and his team.

As an experienced soldier and author, Ashcroft weaves a tale of action, suspense, and intrigue. His rich descriptions and character development bring to life the harsh realities of war and the struggle to survive amidst chaos and danger.

In this audiobook review, we’ll take a closer look at “Escape from Baghdad,” examining the plot, characters, and overall impact of this great work. From its in-depth exploration of the themes of money, personal vendettas, and more, to its ability to sustain tension and offer satisfying payoffs, this audiobook is a must-listen for anyone who loves thrilling stories.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Escape from Baghdad” offers a thrilling and captivating audiobook experience for those interested in war stories.
  • Jame Ashcroft’s character development and rich descriptions bring the story to life.
  • Themes of money and personal vendettas are thoughtfully explored throughout the book.
  • The pacing and suspense of “Escape from Baghdad” keep listeners engaged, offering satisfying payoffs throughout the story.
  • The book maintains a level of intensity that is hard to put down, and makes it a great listen for fans of the genre.

Introduction to “Escape from Baghdad”

Welcome to our in-depth review of James Ashcroft’s audiobook, “Escape from Baghdad: First Time Was For the Money, This Time It’s Personal.” This gripping audiobook takes place in the highly volatile city of Baghdad, where former soldier and security consultant Danny Pearson returns for a personal journey filled with danger and action.

The audiobook falls under the thriller genre and is packed with adrenaline-pumping scenes that will keep listeners at the edge of their seats. What sets “Escape from Baghdad” apart from other audiobooks is its immersive storyline that is based on the author’s own experiences in Iraq.

The story revolves around Danny’s quest to seek justice for his fallen comrades and reunite with his former Iraqi interpreter, Ahmed. Throughout the audiobook, listeners will experience intense gunfights, espionage, and political corruption in a foreign land where trust is hard to come by.

Plot Summary

In “Escape from Baghdad,” former soldier-turned-mercenary John Pierce is hired by a wealthy businessman to smuggle illegal goods into Iraq. But when his team is ambushed and his client is killed, Pierce finds himself embroiled in a deadly game of revenge against a powerful militia leader.

As Pierce races to complete his mission and escape the city, he must navigate a treacherous battlefield filled with dangerous foes and unexpected allies. From firefights in the streets to harrowing chases through the desert, the action never lets up in this thrilling tale of survival and vengeance.

With plenty of plot twists and heart-pumping action sequences, “Escape from Baghdad” will keep listeners on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

Memorable Characters in “Escape from Baghdad”

James Ashcroft’s “Escape from Baghdad” is populated by a range of compelling characters who bring the audiobook’s story to life. Each character has their own unique motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, contributing to the overall impact of the book.

“Escape from Baghdad” centers on Matt Drake, a former soldier who finds himself drawn back to the city he barely escaped years before. He’s joined by other characters, including:

Character Description
Ali al-Massari An Iraqi national who helps Drake navigate the city. He’s an expert in the underground networks and chaos of Baghdad.
Kate Watson A former journalist who accompanies Drake on his mission. She’s determined to expose the truth behind the corruption and violence that plagues Baghdad.
Thomas Kane A CIA agent who has his own agenda in Baghdad. He’s ruthless and cunning, making him a dangerous man to cross.
General Ali Mahmoud The leader of a feared militia group. He’s one of the book’s primary antagonists, driving the conflict throughout the narrative.

Each character in “Escape from Baghdad” is brought to life through strong performances from the audiobook’s voice actors. From Drake’s gruff determination to Watson’s cool resolve, each character is memorable in their own way.

The Audiobook Experience

Listening to an audiobook is a unique and immersive experience, and “Escape from Baghdad” does not disappoint.

The narration by James Ashcroft himself is engaging and brings the story to life. His voice acting for the different characters is impressive, making it easy for listeners to differentiate between them. The production quality is top-notch, with clear and crisp audio that allows for a seamless listening experience.

One unique aspect of the audiobook experience of “Escape from Baghdad” is the use of sound effects, adding an extra layer of depth and immersion to the story. The sound effects help to create a realistic atmosphere that transports the listener to the various settings of the book.

Overall, the audiobook experience of “Escape from Baghdad” is a compelling one, with excellent narration, production quality, and unique sound effects that add to the immersive experience.

Themes and Messages

The audiobook “Escape from Baghdad” explores various themes and messages that add depth to the story. One of the themes is money, which is a driving force behind the characters’ actions and decisions. The pursuit of wealth has consequences, and the audiobook effectively conveys the dangers of greed.

In addition to money, “Escape from Baghdad” also delves into personal vendettas. The audiobook explores the pain and trauma caused by a desire for revenge. It also highlights the futility of seeking vengeance and the destructive impact it can have on individuals and society.

Furthermore, “Escape from Baghdad” touches on themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and redemption. These themes are interwoven into the plot and characters, adding layers of complexity to the story and highlighting the struggles faced by the audiobook’s protagonists.


Themes Description
Money The pursuit of wealth and its consequences.
Vendettas The impact of seeking revenge on oneself and others.
Loyalty The importance of devotion and faithfulness to others.
Sacrifice The cost of putting others before oneself.
Redemption The possibility of forgiveness and salvation.

Overall, the themes and messages in “Escape from Baghdad” make it a thought-provoking and engaging audiobook. Listeners will be challenged to reflect on their own beliefs and values while following the characters’ journeys.

Pacing and Suspense

The pacing and suspense in “Escape from Baghdad” keep listeners engaged throughout the audiobook. The story is packed with unexpected twists and turns that build tension and leave listeners wondering what will happen next.

The author, James Ashcroft, expertly executes the story’s pacing, gradually building up suspense and delivering satisfying payoffs that do not disappoint. Ashcroft uses expert pacing to keep listeners invested in the story, providing just enough action and intrigue to keep the narrative moving forward without ever feeling rushed or dull.

The audiobook’s sound effects and background music further enhance the suspenseful atmosphere, pulling listeners deeper into the story. Whether it’s heart-pumping action scenes or quiet moments of reflection, the audiobook’s pacing and use of suspense keep things interesting and engaging from start to finish.

Escape from Baghdad book cover

“James Ashcroft expertly executes the story’s pacing, gradually building up suspense and delivering satisfying payoffs that do not disappoint.”

Critique and Analysis of “Escape from Baghdad”

In this section, we will provide a critical analysis of the audiobook “Escape from Baghdad,” evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. Our analysis will delve into the narrative flow, character development, and overall execution of the book.

“Escape from Baghdad” is a thrilling listen that keeps the listener engaged from start to finish. However, there are some areas where the book falls short, particularly in its handling of certain plot points and character arcs. Overall, while the book offers a compelling narrative, it could benefit from more nuanced character development and a tighter plot.”

When evaluating the narrative flow of “Escape from Baghdad,” it is clear that the book offers a well-structured and engaging story. Ashcroft does an excellent job of building tension and suspense, keeping listeners on the edge of their seats throughout the audiobook.

However, while the book’s plot is engrossing, some of the characters in “Escape from Baghdad” could benefit from more nuanced development. Certain characters feel one-dimensional, and their motivations and actions can be predictable. As a result, the listener may find it challenging to fully engage with these characters or become invested in their arcs.

Pros and Cons of “Escape from Baghdad”

Pros Cons
The book offers a thrilling, engaging narrative Some characters feel one-dimensional and could benefit from more nuanced development
The audiobook’s production quality is impressive, with excellent narration and voice acting Some plot points feel rushed or underdeveloped
The book explores themes of personal vendettas and money in a compelling way The book could benefit from a tighter plot

Additionally, some of the plot points in the book can feel rushed or underdeveloped. While the narrative is engaging, certain events can feel abrupt or unearned, detracting from the overall impact of the story.

Overall, “Escape from Baghdad” is an impressive audiobook that offers a thrilling listening experience. However, the book could benefit from more nuanced character development and a tighter, more carefully structured plot.

Comparison to Other Audiobooks

When comparing “Escape from Baghdad” to other audiobooks in its genre, it stands out for its gripping plot, memorable characters, and high production quality. Unlike other books that focus solely on action or plot twists, this audiobook strikes a careful balance of character development, pacing, and suspense to keep listeners engaged from start to finish.

One audiobook that shares similarities with “Escape from Baghdad” is “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle. Both explore themes of war, personal responsibility, and the impact of violence on soldiers and civilians. However, “Escape from Baghdad” takes a more nuanced approach to its characters, giving listeners a deeper understanding of their motivations and struggles.

Another audiobook that may appeal to fans of “Escape from Baghdad” is “Zero Dark Thirty: The Shooting Script” by Mark Boal. Both books involve military operations in the Middle East and explore the toll of violence on soldiers and civilians. However, “Escape from Baghdad” has a more personal, character-driven focus that sets it apart from the more procedural “Zero Dark Thirty.”

comparison to other audiobooksIn conclusion, while there are other audiobooks in its genre, “Escape from Baghdad” is a standout listening experience that combines compelling characters, intricate plotting, and high production value. It is a must-listen for fans of military thrillers and anyone looking for a gripping audiobook experience.


Overall, “Escape from Baghdad: First Time Was For the Money, This Time It’s Personal” by James Ashcroft is a thrilling and engaging audiobook that is sure to keep listeners on the edge of their seats. The book’s well-crafted plot, memorable characters, and expert narration make for a compelling listening experience that is well worth the time investment for fans of the genre.

While the book is not without its flaws – some listeners may find the pacing a bit uneven, and the deeper themes explored in the story may not resonate with everyone – these issues are minor and do not detract significantly from the overall quality of the audiobook.

As a result, we would highly recommend “Escape from Baghdad” to anyone looking for a gripping and immersive listening experience. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the genre or simply looking for something new and exciting to listen to, this audiobook is sure to deliver.

In conclusion, “Escape from Baghdad” is a standout example of what makes audiobooks such a unique and powerful storytelling medium. With its expert production, top-notch narration, and thrilling plot, this is an audiobook that is not to be missed.

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