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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

1 The War Planners The War Planners
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2015

David Manning is more than a bit surprised when he is whisked from his home, placed in a jet, and flown to a remote tropical island. Evidence has China about to attack the US and Manning is now part of a CIA Red Cell group led by the dangerous and beautiful Lena Chou, tasked with finding what the attack schedule will be. One thing else he has to worry about is that not everyone seems to be rooting for the same team.
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2 The War Stage The War Stage
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2017

China is the driving force behind a new Financial Exchange in Dubai which is pushing bitcoin as the new global trade currency. The plan is to greatly weaken the dollar. As tensions in the Persian Gulf heat up dangerously, CIA op Chase Manning is in the area to find the truth but what he finds is that his brother, David Manning, seems at the heart of the bitcoin conspiracy.
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3 Pawns of the Pacific Pawns of the Pacific
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2017

David Manning is attached to a Marine special ops team to infiltrate a Chinese base in the jungles of South America. At the same time tensions with the Chinese are tightening quickly to war stage.
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4 The Elephant Game The Elephant Game
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2017

As the war between China and the U.S. looks to be certain with only its launch time uncertain, North Korea decides to join the activities with an attack on its southern neighbor.
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5 Overwhelming Force Overwhelming Force
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2019

The war everyone has been expecting starts with an attack by China on the US. The Manning family is fully involved in the activities with David Manning working hard to decipher their plans. Brother Chase is is part of the team going up against special forces on American soil. Sister Victoria is hunting submarines off Guam. Father Admiral Manning leads a carrier task group in the Pacific.
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6 Global Strike Global Strike
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2020

The concluding novel in the War Planner series. China has hurt America badly but has been unable to destroy her. As the Chinese President nears death from cancer, he has a major escalation in the year-old conflict designed to end the war in his side's favor. David Manning is part of the CIA-Pentagon strategy team to keep that from happening.
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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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