08/20/2010 01:26 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Manifest Destiny and the Art of the Political Thriller

Wherever there is fighting, American sends it envoy.

-Warren Zevon

One of my favorite writers is Fletcher Knebel. Knebel was a writer in the 1960s who mastered the art of political fiction.

Knebel wrote 15 books, all which I read, and many were best sellers. Seven Days in May went to number one and became a major motion picture starring Burt Lancaster and Kurt Douglas.

With his third book, Manifest Destiny, Rick Robinson has established himself as the Fletcher Knebel of the 21st century.

Manifest Destiny is unquestionably Robinson's best book. Like his previous efforts, Maximum Contribution and Sniper Bid, the plot involves the mythical Congressman Richard Thompson of Kentucky.

Robinson was a longtime congressional staffer, and is a Kentucky political insider. Robinson made an unsuccessful run to replace his boss, Jim Bunning, in Congress when Bunning moved to the Senate.

The Thompson character seems to be a fictionalized version of Robinson himself.

In Manifest Destiny, Robinson weaves a lot of "inside the beltway" background into a thriller along the lines of a Tom Clancy novel.

Manifest Destiny is where The West Wing meets the Bourne Identity.

I don't want to give away the plot but the book is a page turner with an international flavor. It seems likely to be developed into a motion picture. In all of his books, Robinson has an affinity for quoting Warren Zevon and other rock stars. Readers will find that Zevon's Envoy is a perfect theme for Manifest Destiny.

In many ways, Manifest Destiny reminds me of the 1966 novel Sarkhan by William Lederer and Eugene Burdick. Books that are about how government really works. Books that could only be written by people who have spent their lives around "real politics."

Manifest Destiny is Robinson's defining novel.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC of Richmond Kentucky is an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.

You can read more about Don at

McNay founded McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983, and Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC in 2000. You can read more about both at

McNay has Master's Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Eastern Kentucky University.

McNay has written two books. Most recent is
Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win The Lottery

McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field.