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Broken Jewel: A Novel by David Robbins

Broken Jewel: A Novel

by David Robbins

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Broken Jewel by David L. Robbins is a story of survival, war and love set in the Philippines during WW II as MacArthur’s forces have returned to liberate these islands. The retreating Japanese had a policy of leaving no witnesses behind and had already killed many civilians and prisoners. Concern was mounting for the internees housed at the prison camp of Los Banos, and in a daring rescue, American Forces joined with several guerrilla outfits to go behind Japanese lines to save these people.

The story is centered on Remy Tuck and his son Talbot who have been in the prison camp for years. Tuck has grown almost to manhood behind the barbed wire. Remy has worked and plotted to save many of his fellow prisoners from starvation and illness and tries to always keep his son safe from the vicious punishments that are given for the slightest of missteps. Overseeing the camp is the comfort station and a young Filipina, Carmen is kept there. Kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery as a comfort women, Carmen watches Tal from afar with admiration as he is a brave and forthright young man, outsmarting and defying the guards at every opportunity. Tal is also very taken with Carmen who handles her situation with grace and courage, passing on the information she is able to gather to the guerrillas.

The author excels in his research and his attention to historical detail really helped to place the reader in this time and place. The story of deprivation and cruelty contrasted with the warm bonding of father and son, and the blossoming love between a man and a woman. I found Broken Jewel to be an excellent read, a perfect combination of great storytelling loaded with suspense, action, and historical information. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 23, 2017 |
This was a very enjoyable read - I particularly liked that it was a war story about heroic civilians. While I'm not at all well-read in this genre, I feel like civilians in WWII novels are usually straightforwardly tragic victims, while soldiers get to run around kicking Nazi ass and saving the day. None of these characters allow themselves to remain victims, which makes them an especially compelling kind of admirable.

Fabulous amounts of research that sit lightly on the page.

I found the whole Reservoir Dogs-esque scene near the end a bit confusing, but I was also pretty sleepy.

And, oh yes, my creative writing class is mentioned in the acknowledgements :D ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
During WWII the Japanese imprisoned over 2000 Allied civilians in Los Banos Internment Camp in the Philippines. Among them were Tal and Remy Tuck. Father and son while never close after the death of Tal's mother, drift even further apart. Conditions were poor, but as the tide of the war began to turn in favor of the Allied forces the Japanese brutality became unbearable inside the barbed wire. Just outside the camp, but equally imprisoned, lived Carmen-a Japanese sex slave (comfort woman.) As the war in the Pacific comes to a head lives of both sides of the barbed wire will be lost in an effort to free the internees. Robbins has written a terrific story about survival, inhumanity, and surprisingly love. Based on actual events this is a story written not just a book for men, but for anyone interested in learning what men are capable of during times of war . ( )
  libsue | Nov 28, 2009 |
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Atrocities follow war as the jackal follows a wounded beast.
-- John W. Dower, War Without Mercy
For Captain Michael John Beach. In the heart and mind, and on the high seas, I have no better friend.
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Remy Tuck had not seen his own reflection in three weeks.
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Set against the backdrop of the Los Banos prison raid--one of the most daringepisodes of World War II--"Broken Jewel" tells a powerful story of war, love, and survival .

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