David L. Robbins
Novelist, Educator, Playwright, Essayist
Critical Praise
The Devil's Waters

"The Devil’s Waters is a gripping thriller marked by explosive close-quarters action, authoritative depictions of an elite Air Force pararescue unit, and ingenious plot twists. Robbins is a masterful storyteller."
- Dan Mayland author of the bestselling The Colonel's Mistake

"A great novel entertains and educates. The Devil's Waters does both, brilliantly. Robbins has the mind of a scholar, his eye for historical and cultural detail is simply extraordinary. Military jargon rips across the pages with authenticity and spontaneity. Nothing is forced; all is real. America's finest and their foreign enemies are not stick figures, but full bodied men with all the passions and foibles of real people. Many books have been written about the remarkable courage and daring of America's Special Forces. None have depicted the Air Force's PJs, its elite unit of pararescueers, in such detail or captured their quiet courage and selfless devotion to duty like this remarkable novel."
-William S. Cohen, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

"On target! The Devils Waters impacts the reader right from the start mixing the realities of today’s combat with fast-paced fiction. Robbins' ability to deploy you with a team of pararescuemen into a plausible yet extreme scenario is unmatched. Nobody builds complicated characters and situations better than him, and who could be more complicated than American Special Operatives with the mission not to destroy or kill, but to save lives and aid the injured? Fire for effect, Robbins, and keep 'em coming." -Lt. Col. John McElroy, USAF Combat Rescue Officer

“Using the ticking clock and life-and-death stakes, Robbins keeps the tension high throughout. Amid the action, he provides descriptions that border on poetry…. Readers of The Devil’s Waters will lift off on the thrill ride they expect of this genre. But they will also get nuanced storytelling, and they will learn about a corner of the U.S. military not often portrayed in fiction.”
-Tom Young for the Washington Independent Review of Books
 

Broken Jewel

"Robbins's ninth novel, the best WWII Pacific campaign novel in a long time, tells the dramatic story of the 1945 rescue of 2,100 American and allied prisoners from the Los Baños camp near Manila. Middle-aged gambler Remy Tuck and his teenage son, Talbot, have been civilian prisoners since the Philippines fell to the Japanese in 1942. Packed into the miserable Los Baños, where the Japanese starve, beat, abuse and murder the prisoners, Remy and Talbot use their wits and courage to survive. Across the camp, Carmen is a young Filipina woman forced to be a sex slave for Japanese soldiers. She and Talbot forge a relationship via long-distance glances through barbed wire. Once the Americans invade the Philippines and plan a daring mission to rescue the prisoners from certain death, Remy, Talbot and Carmen risk their lives to aid the paratroopers coming to their rescue, though bad luck, homicidal guards and stray bullets nearly do them in. This is a terrific story of the triumph of the human spirit, loaded with suspense, historical accuracy and fast-paced action."
—Publishers Weekly

"...a riveting but horrific story of the agonies endured by civilians in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines during World War II. Robbins's novel is the story of incredible courage, compassion, patriotism, and just plain stubbornness in the face of extreme adversity. Although at times difficult to read because of the casual and mindless cruelty depicted, it is well worth the effort as American and Filipino forces join with the inmates to liberate the camp. Magnificent."
—Library Journal (starred review)

"Japan faces defeat in the Philippines, and some 2,000 American internees face mass murder in another blend of fact and fiction from master alchemist Robbins (The Betrayal Game, 2008, etc.).
Remy Tuck, 45, and his son Talbot, 19, are prisoners in the Japanese internment camp at Los Baños, about 25 miles from Manila. They’ve been there for three desperate years. It’s now 1945: Food is in short supply; their guards range from callous to sadistic; and imprisonment has had dehumanizing effects on all the detainees. Still, father and son are the stuff of survivors, each in his own way. Remy, a born gambler, plays cards, wins an egg or a mango, sometimes an extra privilege or two. Tal, a born romantic, is in love. On the other side of the compound, a young Filipina named Carmen endures a different kind of imprisonment. She’s what her captors euphemistically call a “comfort woman”; her role is to provide sex on demand for the Imperial Army, and the demand is appallingly great. Carmen has seen Tal only from her window, and they’ve never spoken, yet somehow the two have made a connection that serves as a lifeline to a better time. Meanwhile, the atmospherics at Los Baños are undergoing a sea change. P-38s and bombers attack regularly. The Japanese thrust toward victory is inexorably transmuted into a thirst for vengeance. Filipino guerilla forces get word to the American 11th Airborne Division that a massacre has actually been scheduled, mass graves for internees already prepared. In counterpoint, a daring freedom raid is hurriedly scheduled. Remy and Tal will play vital roles—Carmen, a complex one. A remarkable story, brilliantly told."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Broken Jewel is an enormous accomplishment, a richly detailed page turner and history conjured through vivid prose. Robbins brings to life the humanity of men valiantly fighting to keep it for themselves. If you wanted to know what your grandfather, uncle, or father went through in the war, what they felt, saw, and did, read Broken Jewel. It touches on the mythic."
— Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers

“David L. Robbins has a knack for airdropping into historical situations that are tightly sprung with pathos and controversy. With the little-known but epically-scaled raid on Los Baños, he has found the perfect subject to ignite his many talents. Here is a white-knuckled thriller that is also sensitively enfolded in rich layers of historical resonance.”
— Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder

“Set in a WWII prison camp in the Philippines, Broken Jewel is both a touching love story and thriller of a read.”
— James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers and The Imperial Cruise

“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.”
— William S. Cohen, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

“David L. Robbins has long been acknowledged as a master of historical fiction. In his latest page-turner, Broken Jewel, he has crafted another deeply moving epic of love and heroism. Unforgettable male and female characters, heart-pounding excitement, beautifully crafted prose. By far his best yet.”
— Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter

The Betrayal Game

"Along with building suspense, Robbins’ tale includes fascinating reflections on the complexities of who to trust and how to choose one’s allies, all of which provides considerable insight into the cold war at its peak. Surprises await along the way. This betrayal game should be played by anyone with a love for blendings of history and suspense."
— Booklist

"In The Betrayal Game, David L. Robbins has created a tour de force thriller that is equal parts John Le Carre and Daniel Silva. A razor-edged game of assasins and revolutionaries set against the backdrop of Fidel's Cuba. A riveting historical thriller crafted with a master's touch. I defy anyone to predict the final twist."
—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Judas Strain

"David Robbins writes with an assured narrative tone, never producing a jarring sentence or a clumsy piece of dialogue. His story is laced with authenticity and utter realism. Food for thought on every fascinating page. A born stylist, The Betrayal Game unfolds with vivid velocity to an explosive end with a clever surprise. Don't spoil it by reading the last few pages first."
—Steve Berry

"The action is exciting and the pace furious...a screw-tightening story."
— The Baltimore Sun

The Assassins Gallery

 

"This brainy thriller is set in 1945, when a foreign black arts assassin (and a woman, at that) makes her way into America to kill F.D.R. The novel acts as a vessel for the author to discuss the place that assassinations have played in history. Like an Umberto Eco historical mystery channeled through the Jason Bourne series, the factual information is balanced out by the fictional suspense. Robbins' hero, a history of assassinations professor named Lammeck recruited by the Secret Service, presents an intriguing thesis that there are 'good' assassinations and 'bad' ones; that is, some killings alter history for the better while others create revolution. Did Caesar's death change anything? Would killing Hitler earlier have discouraged Stalin? What might Jack Kennedy have done about Vietnam had he lived? Robbins' 'wild cards' have an impact on history which cannot be ignored, even if we read about them from the relative safety of fiction."
—NPR.org

"The story is a dotty, coincidence-filled Modesty Blaise-style caper dressed up in academic clothing - an excellent combination. I loved it."
—Literary Review

"… gripping thriller…"
—Irish Independent

"Robbins has an uncanny ability to provide just the right amount of historical detail without overwhelming the plot. This talent, coupled with superior characterization and a masterful, direct writing style will provide thriller lovers with one of their best reads of the year. The powerful climax deserves the term "heart-stopping."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Robbins again concocts an ingenious suspense thriller around the momentous events of World War II....a novel unafraid to tackle some big ideas. A solid, satisfying treat for the armchair historian."
—Kirkus Reviews

"...as tense and suspenseful as anything Robbins has written, and it leaves most best-sellers behind."
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Intriguing...Judith (is) as cold and credible a killer as has stalked the pages of recent crime fiction."
—Chicago Tribune

"...a superb and compelling speculative history that asks, What if FDR had been assassinated instead of dying of natural causes? This thriller evokes pleasant memories of Frederick Forsyth's classic Day of the Jackal and also hints of a Middle East crisis to come. Assassins is a fine premise written exceedingly well. Highly recommended."
— Library Journal (starred review)

Liberation Road

"Liberation Road...conjures war's terror as well as its tedium. Robbins...packs in accurate detail (troop movements, unit history, military slang) while exploring an aspect of WWII most writers (and filmmakers) ignore: segregation in the U.S. military. But this is just one thread of an ambitious novel peopled with compelling characters—white, black, Jew, Gentile. Human."
—Entertainment Weekly

"In his latest WWII novel, Robbins powerfully integrates the theme of racial bigotry from Scorched Earth with the successful formula of his previous three combat novels (The End of War, etc.)...A fine effort from an ambitious storyteller."
—Publishers Weekly

"Once again, Robbins — emerging as the Homer of World War II — recreates the mighty drama in all its deadly beauty."
—Kirkus Review (starred review)

"Robbins provides readers with a spot in the bumpy passenger seat of a deuce-and-a-half (2 1/2-ton) truck as it roars through the narrow roads of France to the front...(He) crafts complex people and reveals unexpected depths. By the end of the book, the reader wants the story to go on, always a good sign in fiction...It's worth a late night or two to read this one."
—Denver Post

"This is Robbins doing what he does better than almost anyone else: bringing the reader right down into the mud and blood and horror of war. But there's a deeper moral lesson at work in this story, as well."
—The Historical Novels Review

Last Citadel

"In his fifth novel, Robbins explores the maelstrom from the perspective of a rich ensemble cast."
—Publishers Weekly

"Robbins recreates the battle (of Kursk) in this rousing novel. He has done extensive research into the weapons and planes used in the battle, bringing to life the horrors of war."
—Booklist

"Robbins has crafted an epic and compelling story… He has also successfully put very human faces on the soldiers, pilots, partisans, and tankers who are the protagonists. This superb historical novel is strongly recommended."
—Library Journal (starred review)

"Robbins infuses the tale with myriad characters, all of whom ring true, giving the reader reason enough to hang his hat on what becomes of them....a well-told tale with interesting and illuminating characters that ensnare the reader while at the same time giving them an inside look at one of those watershed moments of the 20th century. You can't ask more from historical fiction."
—Denver Post

"David L. Robbins' strength as a historical novelist is his ability to bring great events to a personal level. He did so with the Battle of Stalingrad in War of the Rats and the final days of World War II in Europe in The End of War. He does it again in Last Citadel.
- Kirkus (starred review)

"Against a meticulously researched historical background...Last Citadel captures the horror and heat inside a tank in battle. And Robbins captures the human side of people caught up in a give-no-quarter war."
—San Antonio Express-News

"Robbins' greatest touch is his insight in this area of combat. To read his book is to get a terrific sense of what it was like to be in a T-34—or a great German Tiger—in the middle of a titanic struggle.

"Last Citadel is a wonderful read for action junkies or World War II buffs. It sails along the Russian steppes with a brute force."
—The Columbus Dispatch

"Robbins' s talent for putting the reader in the midst of battle is richly displayed...The tanks are so well described that they become characters as interesting and multifaceted as the human beings who ride in them.
- Wall Street Journal

" ...vivid and authentic enough to garner a large and loyal audience."
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

Scorched Earth

"Intricately plotted, insightful and deeply affecting...With empathy and beautiful prose, Robbins succeeds at evoking the vagaries and triumphs of the human heart."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Robbins's latest features intriguing characters, a compelling plot, and a riveting ending. Highly recommended."
—Library Journal

"Every now and then a book of superlative literary value surfaces. Scorched Earth is such a book, giving us a lesson in human frailties and strengths, reminding us of the thin line between justice and injustice. Without a doubt, this should be a bestseller. (Scorched Earth named best book of the month, February, '02)"
—Rendezvous Review

"An intensely charged tale of love, death, and life's real mysteries. Scorched Earth is hot: an absorbing and suspenseful read."
—Perri O'Shaughnessy, nationally bestselling author of Writ of Execution

"Grieving parents, a frightened town, and a reluctant hero come together in a quest for that most powerful of human drives, the search for dignity. Scorched Earth is a deftly crafted mystery, set in a place both new and familiar, with characters so true they make the heart ache. With this book, Robbins joins the ranks of the great."
—Laurie R. King, nationally bestselling author of Folly

The End of War

"Powerful...compelling."
—The Washington Post

"Robbins is an acclomplished storyteller."
—The Denver Post

"Brilliant storytelling by an author who continues to grow and impress, and who, here, seems in complete control of his material."
—Kirkus Review (starred review)

"A pitch-perfect blend of fiction and history."
                                                       —The Denver Post

"Gripping...breathtaking."
—New York Post

"Sweeping in scope, this gripping, admirably researched historical novel resumes the account...Robbins left off in War Of The Rats."
—Publishers Weekly

"A first-rate tale of war...thoughtful, gritty, and compulsively readable."
—Library Journal

War of the Rats

"A good candidate for the thriller of the summer award...Gives a compelling and graphic sense of the heroism-filled nightmare called Stalingrad....A readable, gritty adventure story."
—Richard Bernstein in The New York Times

"Immensely exciting and terribly authentic...White-knuckle tension as the two most dangerous snipers in Europe hunt each other through the hell of Stalingrad."
—Frederick Forsyth

"A historical thriller with the punch of a full metal jacket."
—The Denver Post

"A great novel of one of the great epic battles of all time—Stalingrad."
—W.E.B. Griffin

"Breakneck-fast and laced with real-life vignettes."
—USA Today

"The reporting and writing are amazing, and the sniper's duel with its layers of subtle technique and imagined motivation is suspenseful and powerful...a very good portrait of one of this century's most important and terrible battles, and probably the most intense urban conflict in history."
—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

Souls to Keep

"Compelling debut.... That Robbins can write as gauzily as an angel...is perfectly clear."
—Kirkus Review

"Robbins' ambitious first novel is a fantastical tale about earthly and eternal love.... Robbins writes well...and succeeds in keeping readers interested...."
—Booklist

"The familiar theme of a reluctant spirit gets a comic twist yet has a violent dark side in this promising first novel. The characters are interesting...readers interested in angels may be surprised by the plot twists."
—Library Journal

"Robbins carefully buries the message - love is all that matters - deep within pop culture, which makes for a good read."
—Java

"Robbins writes quite well, voicing Virgil's ennui, Bea's frustration and Ellen's resoluteness, and succeeds in keeping readers interested."
—Publishers Weekly

"This is a novel that will grow on you like a hot bath...you'll soon surrender to the experience, the warmth and the comfort, the overall sense of well-being. Readers will emerge with the rosy glow of reassurance that all is for the best. Sentimental? Well, yes, but so is Dickens."
—Richmond Times-Dispatch