In the 1970's, Senator Temple and the heads of three very powerful families -- The Sheppards, The Kingsleys, and The Barrons -- pool their resources to conspire against a corrupt, powerful oil magnate, Jared Sanders. The one most likely to inherit the Kingsley and Barron businesses and lead them towards a more enlightened and progressive future is the idealistic Delilah Barrons. She will inherit everything if she consents to an arranged marriage between herself and one of the Kingsley Brothers. The only trouble is that she and Harry Sheppard have been in love with each other ever since they were rescued from being abducted as teenagers in Libya.
The Manhattan Swindle is a highly intelligent, suspenseful political thriller. Every character has multiple motives and has to make various decisions before the final page is turned. It's the kind of book that asks whether personal feelings are more important than the overall responsibility that one has to their family and country. This point is made when both Harry and Delilah are both shown people suffering because of the actions of men like Sanders and are asked if it's worth holding onto their romance when they are given the chance to change things in the world for the better. There is a sense that every character is being played in a larger chess match, but the real question is who is playing who and who really comes out on top. Many characters start out with good intentions, but those intentions are squashed once the real world sets in and they are surrounded by corruption, corporate greed, and violence even by people on their side. Many characters compromise their family, relationships, even their humanity for other goals. The question in the final confrontation could be in the end: If one side has lost everything that is important to them in the name of competition, vengeance, and ridding the world of one type of corruption, and if they have to be as heartless and corrupt as their competitor, then have they really won anything?