Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of Broken Jewel by David Robbins

Broken Jewel

A Novel

by David L. Robbins

Broken Jewel by David L. Robbins X
Broken Jewel by David L. Robbins
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2009, 432 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 528 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author David L. Robbins presents a riveting novel of war, love, and survival, set against the backdrop of an improbable rescue, the Los Baños prison raid -- one of the most daring episodes of World War II.

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.

Chapter One

Remy Tuck had not seen his own reflection in three weeks. He'd lost his shaving mirror in a poker game to a man with jaundice. Remy hadn't tried to win the mirror back. Lately, he played only for food.

He sat under a giant dao tree near the barbed wire, rolling dice on a plank. The faces of the internees around him told him enough of what he must look like. Scooped-eyed and hollow-cheeked, three of them bet with Remy for the prize of an egg, while the rest read or dozed. One of the gamblers, a former mechanic for Pan Am, tipped his sharp chin up away from their game. Remy stopped rattling the dice to gaze through the dao's branches into the dispersing mist of a warm December morning. The faroff hum of an American plane -- the Japanese had no presence anymore in the Philippine sky -- added its burr to the calls of birds and insects in the scrub and bamboo inside the camp, the jungle outside it. Remy put down the dice. The whine of the airplane shifted to a higher tone. ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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...continued

Full Review (786 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A remarkable story, brilliantly told.

Library Journal
Starred Review. ....Robbins's magnificent story—despite the long ending—will inspire readers to learn more.

Publishers Weekly
This is a terrific story of the triumph of the human spirit, loaded with suspense, historical accuracy and fast-paced action.

Author Blurb 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.

Author Blurb 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.

Reader Reviews

Kathy

Broken Jewel
Very good read - amazing how people can survive!

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Comfort Women

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 ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Broken Jewel, try these:

  • Zero Night jacket

    Zero Night

    by Mark Felton

    Published 2015

    About this book

    On August 30, 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 Allied officers staged the most audacious mass escape of World War II. Told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this rip-roaring adventure is all the more thrilling because it really happened.

  • Unbroken jacket

    Unbroken

    by Laura Hillenbrand

    Published 2014

    About this book

    More by this author

    In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

We have 7 read-alikes for Broken Jewel, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by David Robbins
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Long After We Are Gone
    Long After We Are Gone
    by Terah Shelton Harris
    Terah Shelton Harris's marvelous family drama Long After We Are Gone begins with the death of the ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhibit
    Exhibit
    by R O. Kwon
    Exhibit, R.O. Kwon's sophomore novel (after The Incendiaries, 2018), introduces readers to Jin Han, ...
  • Book Jacket: Somehow
    Somehow
    by Anne Lamott
    Anne Lamott knows a thing or two about love. In fact, there is so much of it exuding from her essay ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Wings Upon Her Back
    by Samantha Mills
    Faith is a delicate thing. At its best, it can offer peace in times of crisis. At its worst, it can ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Long After We Are Gone
by Terah Shelton Harris
After their father's death, four siblings rally to save their family home in this gripping and hopeful tale.
Book Jacket
The Pecan Children
by Quinn Connor
Two sisters deeply tied to their small Southern town fight to break free of the darkness swallowing the land whole.
Win This Book
Win Bright and Tender Dark

Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson

A beautifully written, wire-taut debut novel about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.