Full Name: David Manning
Series Name: The War Planners
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Andrew Watts
Time Span: 2015 - 2020


David Manning is an analyst with the CIA.

This series goes by the name The War Planners by the author and that is a very good description of it since it deals primarily with those people from several powerful nations who are deeply involved with either starting a major war (China), being used as chess pieces in the early stages of preparation (Iran, among others), or trying to find a way to preempt that war or figure out how to survive it (the U.S.). Since this compendium deals with spies, however, the key player in that capacity in the six-book series is David Manning.

It would also be not surprising if the series were to have as its stars the Manning family as the activities we follow in the pages are not only those of David but also three of his family members. His sister Victoria is a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Navy who will quickly be in charge of a detachment of pilots as the nation goes through the early skirmishes and then all-out combat. His brother Chase is a Navy SEAL who has seen a fair amount of action before things began to heat up and will see far more. His father is an admiral in the Navy in charge of a carrier group and will see a tremendous amount of activity. Each of the people will have good amounts of the story time, especially his siblings, and each will be very interesting and important to the flow of the narrative.

But it is David Manning who is the main attraction when it comes to intelligence gathering and analysis.

He is not with the Agency when we first meet him. He works for a company named In-Q-Tel. "It was a venture-capital firm unlike any other. In-Q-Tel was a nonprofit firm in Arlington, Virginia. Its sole purpose was to invest in and secure the most advanced information technology for use by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies. His job was to identify and evaluate new technologies that could be acquired and used by the government."

It is for his expertise in that capacity, especially his intimate knowledge of the capabilities of a revolutionary new technology called ARES that he finds himself thrown into the thick of things. His involvement with the CIA will come as time passes but from the moment we first meet him, he will be up to his neck in trouble of the cloak and dagger variety.

Manning is happily married to Lindsay and father to 3-year-old Maddie and a newborn son.

Earlier I mentioned David as being the main "intel" person in the family. There is one other person in these books that could easily have been given starring role because she, Lena Chou, is one impressive woman. She is a CIA agent of over a dozen years when we first meet her and though her employer will change, her experience will only increase and her ability to get the job done will be shown over and over. She is definitely the sort of operative you want on your side and the kind to give you bad dreams if she is an opponent. Manning learns that the hard way.


Number of Books:6
First Appearance:2015
Last Appearance:2020


I enjoyed this six-part series a good deal. The half dozen books all combine to tell one very scary and momentous period of time that could easily be happening today as China has emerged as a super power with trouble of its own in that regards, Iran maintains its belligerence against the US and vice versa. The events depicted showing the advancing troubles gradually but surely building to war are so well done that there are several times I found myself swallowing a tad harder than usual when I turned on the real news. I had to remind myself that these books were fiction. Really, they are.

The intelligence work that David Manning deals with, and the done by the other side which is even more fun/scary to follow, is only a part of these books, like you would find in a Clancy or Ludlum or Griffin novel. These are not adventures where one person goes into danger and saves the day. But the intel work that is done is vital for that day to ever come.


My Grade: A-


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