For three years after the fall of Manila, 2100 Allied civilians have been imprisoned at Los Baños Internment Camp, notorious for its horrendous conditions. American Remy Tuck, the camp's resident gambler, struggles daily with his Japanese army captors to keep his community of Americans, Brits, and Dutch alive, as they stave off starvation and protect one another from vicious punishments. Remy's son, Talbot, now nineteen, has become a man while in captivity. Headstrong to the hilt and a nimble thief, Tal can move like a snake under the guards' noses and defies their orders at every opportunity.
On the other side of the barbed wire, looking down on the camp, is the Filipina Carmen, a "comfort woman" who has been kidnapped by the Japanese, raped, and forced into sexual slavery to service the Imperial Japanese Army. Carmen battles to keep herself physically and emotionally intact. A favorite of one of the guards, she accepts his occasional kindnesses but has eyes only for Tal, whose fortitude in the face of great suffering astounds her. Tal, in turn, looks up to Carmen's high window and sees the grace and courage with which she endures her imprisonment. Without speaking, the two fall in love above the encampment grounds.
As the tide of the war in the Pacific turns against the Japanese, tensions and danger in the camp escalate. In the face of all but certain execution at the hands of their captors, Remy and Tal enact a daring plan to save their fellow prisoners and the woman Tal loves.
With keen insight and deft characterization, Robbins investigates the pressures of deprivation and cruelty on the most common of human relationships – the love between a father and son and the love between a man and a woman – in a most uncommon circumstance... His attention to historical detail and the sympathetic treatment of his captivating characters create an absorbing novel that will appeal to a variety of readers. (Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
This is a terrific story of the triumph of the human spirit, loaded with suspense, historical accuracy and fast-paced action.
Starred Review. A remarkable story, brilliantly told.
Starred Review. ....Robbins's magnificent story—despite the long ending—will inspire readers to learn more.
James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers and The Imperial Cruise
Set in a WWII prison camp in the Philippines, Broken Jewel is both a touching love story and a thriller of a read.
William S. Cohen, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Broken Jewel is a tour de force, a must-read for all who need to be reminded of the transcendent power of the human spirit.
Carmen's experience as a comfort woman in Los Baños was not an uncommon one for southeast Asian women during World War II. The system of brothels began in 1932. In the early stages, volunteer Japanese prostitutes were used until Japan's military expansion made it difficult to get volunteers. At this point, the military turned to coercing women in areas of Japanese occupation to join the system. The majority of the women were taken from Korea or China. It was believed that the risk of a Japanese soldier running into a sister or friend in a comfort station would have devastating effects, so comfort women - at least during the war - were exclusively recruited from outside Japan.
Korean comfort women who survived and were protected in Lameng, Yunnan, September 3, 1945. From the US National Archives.
The comfort system was devised to prevent venereal diseases and rape while staving off discontent among the Japanese...
An emotionally charged, deeply affecting drama about the violence of modern life, and the intensity and courage to be found in the closeness of death. Blazing with Kennedys characteristic virtuosity, wit and narrative invention. Winner of the 2007 Costa Novel Award.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...