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The Devil's Waters (A USAF Pararescue Thriller) [Kindle Edition]

David L. Robbins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A giant freighter in the Gulf of Aden holds secret cargo that could bring down the governments of four nations. When Somali pirates grab the ship, the order comes down: get the freighter back, at all costs.

Only one combat group is close enough to respond before the hijacked freighter reaches Somali waters: the elite US Air Force pararescue unit—the PJs—stationed in Djibouti. Though their mission is to save lives, and their oath is “That Others May Live,” the PJs are battle-tested. The team doesn’t hesitate because one of their own, Sgt. LB DiNardo, is already onboard the hijacked ship.

LB has three tasks: provide intel on the pirates, stay alive until the team arrives, and withstand the humiliation of breaking the PJs’ cardinal rule: Never be the one who needs rescuing.

At the head of the pirates is the shrewd and ruthless Yusuf Raage, a clan leader who will sacrifice anything and anyone to keep his captured ship. The PJs have a mere hour to take down the ship before the Air Force blows it up. Even if they survive the wrath of Yusuf Raage, more secrets and danger await them.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

Praise for David Robbins:

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

"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)

"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 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 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)

About the Author

David L. Robbins currently teaches advanced creative writing at VCU Honors College. His exceptional talent is displayed through ten action-packed novels, including the classic War of the Rats, Broken Jewel, The Betrayal Game, The Assassins Gallery, and Scorched Earth. An award-winning essayist and screenwriter, Robbins founded the James River Writers, an organization dedicated to supporting professional and aspiring writers. He also co- founded the Podium Foundation, which encourages artistic expression in Richmond’s high schools. Robbins extends his creative scope beyond fiction as an accomplished guitarist and student of jazz, pop, and Latin classical music. When he’s not writing, he’s often found sailing, shooting, weightlifting, and traveling the world. He lives in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia.


Product Details

  • File Size: 592 KB
  • Print Length: 409 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612186068
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 13, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J2KTVQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Others May Live November 1, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I personally have one bias concerning books like this. I grew up in the military and if you count that along with my adult career, I have spent 58 years at various bases around the world - air force, navy and army. I have a huge appreciation for what the military does and an annoyance that civilians do not know the full extent of the service and hardships of these men and women and their families; although it has been much improved in the last few years.
So with that... I look at books like `the Devil's Waters' as serving a purpose more than entertainment - they help to educate. I am always happy to see a glossary of acronyms included,(for the civilian population) although it would be better in the front of the book.

The storyline concerns a ship carrying a mysterious cargo, hijacked by Somali pirates. This also gives some revelations about the world of these pirates. One excellent factor regarding the plot, is that it concerns a different type of weapon, an unusual secret and unique political dealings than in most other novels of this type and of course a military unit that most have no idea that it exists.
At times the pace is slow, especially for a military action style book. It takes 70 pages to get from the time of take off of a rescue unit to the landing zone - a 2 ½ hour flight. Then over a 100 pages are written regarding the fight to capture the ship, a 60 minute time period. Some of the structuring of the chapters can be confusing too. For example, chapter 47 ends, then 48 picks up at the end of chapter 46, so you have one scene completed and then the storyline returns to the beginning of the scene before.

The plot ends with an excellent explanation of why the government has given the orders it did and why the team was sent out on this mission.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs up from a former PJ January 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was a PJ for thirteen years, and I enjoyed this book as an action thriller. My one gripe is that the book shows very little of the life saving skills we worked so hard for. Can we kill? Yes, but anybody can take a life. There is nothing special or unique about ending a life. In Somalia and other places around the world children are programmed (for lack of a better word)to kill. Saving a life is a much more difficult task, and I'm not ashamed to say that we PJs are the best at saving lives in combat and many times during peace time. I hope Mr. Robbins uses his next book as an opportunity to incorporate a PJs life saving skills and the lengths to which we will go to save a life. PJs have parachuted into the middle of a mine field to get another brother in arms to hospital knowing his chances were very slim due to blood loss. This is just one example of thousands of missions PJs endure. Please don't just talk about the bravery and killing skills, but the ingenuity of their rescuing skills. Who HALO jumps with "the jaws of life" strapped to their backs? PJs do, that's who.
I still really enjoyed this book, and hope civilians get a tiny glimpse of PJs do. Let the SEALS get the glory and count news paper articles. We count lives saved.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable Action Thriller December 18, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Gulf of Aden is filled with action and intrigue when a member of a team of pararescue jumpers finds himself in hot water.

The PJs, also known as the Guardian Angels, know there's no such thing as a milk run, but they still let their guard down when they get a distress call from a container ship. There's been an accident, and two crewmen on the ship sustained serious injury. Even though PJs don't work alone, Sergeant LB DiNardo decides to stay alone on the ship when he sees just how bad their injuries are. Shortly thereafter, the ship is attacked and taken by pirates.

Yusuf Raage became a pirate by default, but the business has been good to him. He's ready to retire, but when an Arab sheik makes him an offer he can't refuse, he gets a band together to take one more ship. He and his brother-in-arms, Suleiman, have misgivings, but they're afraid for the safety of their village, so they attack the ship anyway.

The ship is carrying super-secret cargo that absolutely cannot fall into the wrong hands, and the United States is determined to either take the ship back, or sink it in deep water far from prying eyes. They send a small team of PJs to retake it and keep the cargo secret, and they've got a tight timeline. If they fail, they'll be blown up with the ship.

This book wins major points for showing the points of view of both the pirates and the American rescuers. The action scenes were very well written, evocative and filled with detail. The biggest issue I had with this book was predictability. Everything that happened was heralded by an explanation first, so there was no page-turning suspense. Either the bad or good guys would announce what they needed to do, and the next few chapters would consist of them following through with it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ENGAGING PAGE TURNER January 2, 2013
Format:Paperback
The mark of a good thriller is whether it keeps me engaged and turning pages. THE DEVIL'S WATERS did exactly that. It gets five stars.

David L. Robbins has taken his considerable skills as a novelist and shifted them from dramas set primarily against WWII (e.g., WAR OF THE RATS, THE END OF WAR, LAST CITADEL) and moved them to a 21st century backdrop.

THE DEVIL'S WATERS is an imaginative adventure involving Air Force Pararescue Jumpers (PJs) and Somali pirates. It's high adventure with undertones of the War Against Terror and the old Cold War. The PJs, whose job is to save people, become reluctant combatants in an effort to retake a pirated container ship in the Gulf of Aden.

The ship, as we learn, harbors a warren of secrets; secrets so deep that the U.S. government is willing to destroy the vessel, PJs and all, unless the PJs can secure it.

The novel is a tale written from the viewpoints of a couple of the PJs and a Somali pirate. Thus, although I never found myself rooting for the Somali raiders, I certainly understood their motivation. Robbins fleshes them out quite nicely.

I suppose one could snipe about wanting a little more character development for the key PJs or about the (perhaps) over-the-top ending, but I won't quibble about those. As I said in the first paragraph, THE DEVIL'S WATERS is an engaging page turner.

If you're a fan of military thrillers chocked with suspense and action, I highly recommend THE DEVIL'S WATERS.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this one, definitely a 5 star book.
A great story written by a very knowledgeable author, it seems that you are with the team in action. I read a lot of books and rate this up with the best.
Published 1 day ago by Jack Warye
4.0 out of 5 stars Good action thriller
Pretty engaging and well written. I would have preferred a little different ending but that's personal taste.
Published 1 day ago by Eric Tubbs
5.0 out of 5 stars ... logging miles training for a marathon - it was perfect for helping...
Listened while logging miles training for a marathon - it was perfect for helping me through the miles and I enjoyed it very much.
Published 1 day ago by dairygood
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good real I'll read more of Mr. Robbins....
Published 1 day ago by Gerald Feil Sr
5.0 out of 5 stars You need to read this book
This story is very well developed and interesting. The author knew his stuff and writes well. I enjoyed the characters, the great setting and couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Roy Stephenson
5.0 out of 5 stars What I want to do is applaud the David Robbins for an excellent story...
I'll not rehash the plot here as there are many others who have done thoroughly. What I want to do is applaud the David Robbins for an excellent story that is exceedingly well... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Wade Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A slow start, but then WOW, what a story! And a big twist at the end!
I think this is the first book by Robbins I have read, and now I have a new author to add to my favorites list. Robbins is easily an equal to the other top authors I enjoy. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Eric C. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fun and entertaining
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good yarn
Ok but I wonder how they thought they could have unloaded the train wagons four miles offshore on a wild coast.
Published 2 days ago by arthur john kestle
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! You will be hooked.
This is my second novel and I love the characters. Even though I know the good guys and the bad guys, I love the action and the attention to detail.
Published 2 days ago by Jothi Ravindran
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More About the Author

David L. Robbins was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 10, 1954. He grew up in Sandston, a small town east of Richmond out by the airport; his father was among the first to sit behind the new radar scope in the air traffic control tower. Both his parents, Sam and Carol, were veterans of WWII. Sam saw action in the Pacific, especially at Pearl Harbor.


In 1976, David graduated with a B.A. in Theater and Speech from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Having little actual theatrical talent, he didn't know what to do for a living. David decided to attend what he calls the "great catch-basin of unfocused over-achievers": law school. He received his Juris Doctorate at William and Mary in 1980, then practiced environmental law in Columbia, S.C. for precisely a year (his father demanded back the money for law school if David practiced for less than one year - he quit two weeks before the anniversary but got Sam to agree that the two weeks' vacation David had accumulated could be included). David decided to attend Psychology school, having an affinity for people's stories and a fascination with woe. However, while waiting for admisison in 1981, he began a successful freelance writing career. He began writing fiction in 1997, and has since published twelve novels. He's currently working on the thirteenth, the third in his U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen series, as well as several scripts for the stage and screen. He has won awards for his essays and screenplays, and has had three stage plays produced.


David is an accomplished guitarist, studying the works of James Taylor and Latin classical. At six feet six inches tall, he stays active with his sailboat, shooting sporting clays, weightlifting, traveling to research his novels. He is the founder of the James River Writers (Jamesriverwriters.org) a non-profit group in his hometown of Richmond that helps aspiring writers and students work and learn together as a writing community. He also co-founded The Podium Foundation (thepodiumfoundation.org), a non-profit which brings writing and critical reasoning programs to the students of Richmond's city high schools, as well as support programs for city educators. He also teaches advanced creative writing as a visiting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Honors College. David resides in Richmond, near the James River.

To learn more, or to contact David, please go to authordavidlrobbins.com.

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