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The Empty Quarter (A USAF Pararescue Thriller Book 2) Kindle Edition

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Length: 386 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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From the Editor

I've worked in publishing for more than twenty years, and The Empty Quarter is one of the finest thrillers I have ever had the privilege to publish. Set against a sweeping desert background and experienced through a handful of narrow, intense points of view, all of them dealing with powerful stakes and a ticking clock, the book becomes impossible to put down as the tension ratchets up.

There are so many elements of this book that I love. All the characters—even the minor ones, and especially the antagonists—are richly developed, with relatable reasons for their actions. The quality of the writing is outstanding: read any page of The Empty Quarter, and you'll know that you are in the hands of a master of language and storytelling. The propulsive plot gives the story an amazing narrative velocity. But the one thing I love most about David's novel is its provocative realism.

This is not a simple tale with clear-cut good guys and bad guys. The Empty Quarter manages to mirror the complexity of the modern world. In a story that combines an international kidnapping scheme, a US Air Force Special Ops pararescue unit, the love between a former mujahideen fighter and a Saudi princess, and a wild chase through the desert, David Robbins shines a light on some of the most complicated geopolitical issues of this moment in time—and also on the human heart. The result is surprisingly moving, as well as relentlessly suspenseful.

When I asked David what he wanted to share with potential readers, he said, "If you like your adventure novels to be more than factual, fast-paced, and well researched—if you also enjoy crafted language, deeper themes, plausible characters and motivations, exotic settings; if you like to be informed and moved while you're entertained—this is the book for you."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

- Alan Turkus, Editor

Editorial Reviews


“David Robbins is a master and The Empty Quarter is proof. Nobody writes a better action book...nobody.” —Brian Haig, New York Times bestselling author of The Capitol Game

“A military thriller, a love story and a geopolitical tale...Robbins uses his superior knowledge of military and global affairs in concocting a page-turner of a plot, one in which the line between heroes and villains is blurred, the art of betrayal is practiced with dexterity, and the complex relationship between the CIA and the Saudi government is examined with a keen eye.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

About the Author

David L. Robbins currently teaches advanced creative writing at VCU Honors College. He is the author of eleven action-packed novels, including War of the Rats, Broken Jewel, The Betrayal Game, The Assassins Gallery, and Scorched Earth. An award-winning essayist, playwright, 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 sailing, shooting, weightlifting, and traveling the world. He lives in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3313 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (August 1, 2014)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I8YB71G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,716 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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 fourth 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 ( 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 (, 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. Most recently, David is the creator of The Mighty Pen Project, an intensive writing program for Virginia's military veterans and their families, in partnership with the Virginia War Memorial. 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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I feel with Mr. Robbins second book he understands better than most "subject matter experts" what our mission truly is and about. This is about as big of a compliment as I can give an author. I was very impressed with his descriptions of the practicing of medicine by the PJs, the use of proper medical terms and TTPs. Most of the injuries sustained by characters in this book received the appropriate treatment by the PJs and used with correct terminology ect.
On a side note: My favorite part of the book was the beginning describing the PJs coming to the aid of some Royal Marines. My hands trembled slightly as I read this because it mirrored a mission I was on while assisting the Royal Marines going after a couple of gravely injured Australian commandos. I have the deepest respect for our allies and stay in touch with many including some Royal Marines. It may not seem like a big deal to a civilian, but it made me happy and grateful to see our allies get some attention if only in a small way.
In my review of Mr. Robbins first I book I asked him to show in this second book not only a PJs fighting skills but his medical skills and the unique way in which they are deployed. Mr. Robbins succeeded in this so Sir I congratulate you, Thank You and salute you!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished The Empty Quarter. And oh my god, I really liked it.

I don’t normally read military fiction. I tend to gravitate more towards ya, fantasy, and the like. This was a nice, refreshing break from that.

It immediately jumps into action, and keeps the reader engaged throughout the book. The author did a lot of research on the country and people of Yemen and the Muslim faith. It really comes across in the book, and its interesting to see the point of view of these different people. In addition, getting a glimpse into the world of the PJs was fun. The camaraderie among the men was great and had me reading as fast as I could to learn what happened next.

Some political intrigue, a lot of action, and a great read throughout.
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If you are in the mood for a military adventure replete with acronyms and action, a surly hero, an unsuspecting diplomat, and a double crossed husband intent on the dead-end of revenge, punctuated with poignant moments of medical drama, then you will want to read THE EMPTY QUARTER, Robbins' jargon steeped thriller. And yes, the jargon, acronyms, implied backgrounds, technological settings have a heavy presence with some minor explanatory footnotes for perhaps the more obscure ones.

Having been a military linguist myself, I did catch the subtle reference to the service wide language proficiency test, known as the DLPT, when the score "3 out of 5" was obliquely mentioned, meaning the character had a basic native fluency as determined by the test (the benchmark score for all services). Other bits and unexplained hints I picked up from personal adjunct familiarity, yet there were still character interactions that required re-reads, which did nothing to illuminate the apparently assumed understanding. Some readers may well indeed have some difficulty getting past the interlaced specialized references; the fact that our surly hero's moniker is an acronym as well does not help much in a paragraph already filled with two or three others. Then, of course, there is the medical related scenes although I found these to be more elucidating than the solely military or cultural dedicated ones.

The pacing is on spot throughout with the last portion of the book given over to the "wind down" with a fairly satisfying conclusion. Robbins plays out well the various plot lines into a single, climatic whole, each character true to the end without any sudden personality shifts.
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2 Comments 126 of 152 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I have a minor complaint and a major complaint. The minor complaint is an author who is too immersed in a world to explain to us just what the heck is going on. Though some terms and acronyms are explained, others are not, so at times it is a struggle -- and an unnecessary one -- to figure out just what is going on. Contrast directly with Tom Clancy who, while writing in the same genre, never cast you adrift in the world. Here, the author does.

The major complaint is the plot itself. There are no spoilers here, but the climax will definitely leave you with a wtf feeling, and not in a good way like a Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie, but in a way where the major plot device just makes no sense from a human nature standpoint. Obviously, the author would defend it a natural consequence of events; to me, I'm just reading it incredulously as a contrivance to finish the novel. Ultimately, it just left me feeling like I read a creative writing assignment, not a novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I like stories with a depth, an insight into the complex world we live in, especially the different cultures we know little but that are having an ever increasing impact in our rapidly globalizing world, where war, terror and crime are almost becoming inescapable. David Robbins did a wonderful job taking the reader into the epicenter of it all, which is the Middle East or the convergence of Europe, Asia and Africa. Through "The Empty Quarter" we are supplied with a rich array of characters, a plot to die for and a setting that is rich and colorful. It is a package I really enjoy, which reminds me of "Triple Agent Double Cross". Thank you David Robbins for this masterpiece.
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