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The book's plot begins only hours after the end of the previous novel, Echoes of Honor.
Timeframe: December 1913 PD – May 1915 PD
- The People's Republic of Haven made a tiny mistake when it announced the execution of Honor Harrington. It seemed safe enough. After all, they knew she was already dead.
- Unfortunately, they were wrong. Now Honor has escaped from the prison planet called Hell and returned to the Manticoran Alliance with a few friends. Almost half of a million of them, to be precise...including some who know what really happened when the Committee of Public Safety seized power in the PRH.
- Honor's return from the dead comes at a critical time, providing a huge, much-needed lift for the Allies' morale, for the war is rapidly entering a decisive phase. Both sides believe victory lies within their grasp at last, but dangers no one could foresee await them both.
- New weapons, new strategies, new tactics, spies, diplomacy, and assassination...All are coming into deadly focus, and Honor Harrington, the woman the newsies call "the Salamander", once more finds herself at the heart of them all.
- But this time, the furnace may be too furious for even a salamander to survive.
Honor Harrington and her "Elysian Space Navy" arrive in the Trevor's Star System, where Honor is greeted by Admiral White Haven, whose feelings for her are as strong as ever. Honor then makes her way back to Manticore, only to discover that she was believed dead, that her mother has given birth to twins (partly to satisfy the Graysons' need for an heir to Harrington Steading), her cousin Devon has inherited her Manticoran title, and that the extent of her injuries will prevent her from returning to active naval duty for a couple of years, since she needs reconstructive surgery. Meanwhile, Horace Harkness receives the Parliamentary Medal of Valor, is knighted, and promoted to Chief Warrant Officer for freeing Harrington and her crew from PNS Tepes.
To put Honor to good use, the Royal Manticoran Navy promotes her to Admiral and places her at the Royal Manticoran Naval Academy on Saganami Island to teach future generations of naval officers. Queen Elizabeth III elevates Honor to Duchess Harrington. Meanwhile, Honor helps to prove that treecats are as intelligent as humans, and eventually helps to develop an easy way to understand sign language, making full communication between the two species possible.
After its last daring attacks, the People's Republic of Haven seems to have the initiative in the war. However, Manticore has a trump card that has the potential to end the war, in the form of devastatingly effective new technology and weapons fully integrated into a new massive heavy assault force known as Eighth Fleet. The Star Kingdom's navy bides time, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
Upon learning of a conspiracy to remove her, the ambitious Admiral McQueen stages a coup that succeeds in killing Rob S. Pierre and almost all the members of the Committee of Public Safety, except for Oscar Saint-Just, who manages to crush the coup by detonating a nuclear device secretly hidden under the Octagon. With the Committee and the military High Command in ruins, Saint-Just becomes the dictator of the People's Republic, and orders Admiral Thomas Theisman to take over the Capital Fleet guarding Haven. This proves to be an eventually fatal miscalculation: while Saint-Just believes Theisman to be apolitical and trustworthy, Theisman is in fact plotting a coup of his own, with the secret help of the People's Commissioner Saint-Just has assigned to him.
Finally, Admiral White Haven launches Operation Buttercup. Under his command, Eighth Fleet begins a lightning offensive deep into Havenite territory. The new technology developed by Manticore in the prelude to Buttercup allows the fleet to quickly demolish all resistance, and in a matter of months Manticore becomes poised to invade the Haven System itself and land infantry in Nouveau Paris.
In desperation, Saint-Just attempts to assassinate the Manticoran Alliance leadership. Masadan terrorists in his service succeed in killing Manticoran Prime Minister Allen Summervale along with several major figures of the Manticoran and Grayson governments, despite the efforts of Honor Harrington. Fortunately, Honor's actions save Queen Elizabeth and Protector Benjamin IX of Grayson from dying in the same attack. Honor's old enemy, Samuel Mueller, who made the attack possible, is impeached and executed for treason.
On Manticore, Cromarty's death opens an opportunity for the opposition factions led by Baron High Ridge to seize political control, much to the frustration of Queen Elizabeth. High Ridge is desperate to avoid a proposed legislation that will weaken the power of the House of Lords. The queen makes the situation worse when she loses her temper and threatens the opposition leaders. Saint-Just proposes an immediate cease-fire between Manticore and Haven. This is hastily accepted by the new High Ridge government, despite the fact that Eighth Fleet is poised to invade Haven and force an unconditional surrender. High Ridge and his co-partisans in the military come to believe (wrongly) that Haven has been defeated for good, and that further violence is not necessary: the First Havenite-Manticoran War comes to an end.
Now secure from the possibility of a Manticoran attack, Saint-Just turns to internal matters and the consolidation of his grip on power. He orders the arrest of Admirals Lester Tourville and Javier Giscard, whom he sees as political dissidents. In response, Admiral Theisman launches his own coup in order to restore Haven's original constitution. Upon being cornered by Theisman and his forces in his office, Saint-Just mocks them about staging another show trial for the Dolists. Theisman answers that they have already had enough of these; he points his pulser at Saint-Just's face and says: "Goodbye, Citizen Chairman."
Achilles | Jonas Adcock | Calvin Addison | Adib | Al | Hamish Alexander | Wayne Alexander | William Alexander | Allen | Baoyuan Anderman | Gustav Anderman | Anders | Ariel | Adelina Arif | Artemis | Athena | Ascencio | Stewart Ashford | Iris Babcock | Anthony Baird | Benjamin the Great | Protector Benjamin IX | Harriet Benson-Dessouix | Henri Benson-Dessouix | Ellen Bhadressa | Luke Blacket | Gavin Bledsoe | Leonard Boardman | Bob | Yuri Bogdanovich | Bolgeo | Brewster | Mercedes Brigham | Crawford Buckeridge | Joe Buckley | Ivan Bukato | Kevin Caminetti | Sean Caminetti | Thomas Caparelli | Rafael Cardones | Warner Caslet | Seth Chernock | Chezno | Clarise Childers | Cleary | Clements | Carson Clinkscales | Howard Clinkscales | Sandra Connors | Lucien Cortez | Jeremiah Crichton | Olivia Cukor | Ellen D'Orville | Sebastian D'Orville | Gregor Darlington | Elaine Descroix | Oliver Diamato | Alec Dimitri | Randal Donizetti | Angela Downey | Henri DuPres | Edward | Queen Elizabeth III | Wanda Farley | Farragut | Sue Fawcett | William Fitzclarence | Erasmus Fontein | Shannon Foraker | Harrison Fraiser | Garrison | Gillingham | Gifford | Kerry Gilley | Javier Giscard | Patricia Givens | Cynthia Gonsalves | Alyson Granston-Henley | Amanda Graveson | Thomas Greentree | John Groenewold | Trevor Haggerston | Halket | Joanne Hall | Julius Hanks | Horace Harkness | Jackie Harmon | Alfred Harrington | Allison Chou Harrington | Devon Harrington | Faith Harrington | James Harrington | Honor Harrington | Stephanie Harrington | Sidney Harris | Jason Haskins | Klaus Hauptman | Stacey Hauptman | Heinrich | Sonja Hemphill | Abigail Hearns | Aaron Hearns | Alasdair Heemskerk | Helft | Edward Henke | Calvin Henke | Michelle Henke | Hennesy | Hera | Higgins | Judson Hines | Hipper | Sanura Hobbard | Lawrence Hodges | Bryce Hodgkins | Everard Honeker | Reginald Houseman | Joan Huertes | Steve Hughes | Jackson | Edward Janacek | Michael Janvier | Andrea Jaruwalski | Jason | Jendra | Samuel Johnson | Justin | Kantor | Jane Kellet | Brian Kennedy | Jeffrey Kersaint | Jonathan Kershaw | Winston Kershaw | Kline | Jackson Kriangsak | Theodosia Kuzak | Andrew LaFollet | Jennifer LaFollet | Miranda LaFollet | Denis LePic | Lawrence MacAfee | James MacGuiness | Andrew MacIntosh | Makarem | Frederick Malone | Allen Mannock | Edmond Marchant | Solomon Marchant | Theresa Markovic | Estelle Matsuko | Wesley Matthews | Simon Mattingly | Francine Maurier | Richard Maxwell | Alexandra Mayhew | Bernard Mayhew | Elaine Mayhew | Honor Mayhew | Jasper Mayhew | Jeanette Mayhew | Katherine Mayhew | Michael Mayhew | Rachel Mayhew | Theresa Mayhew | Andre McIntyre | Alistair McKeon | Cynthia McTierney | Esther McQueen | Monroe | Fritz Montoya | Mosley | Samuel Mueller | Chiuchi Nagumo | Nelson | Willard Neufsteiler | Francis Ney | Nimitz | Chester Nimitz | Eugene Nordbrandt | Lasrina O'Faolain | Fugimori Okamura | Nikola Pakovic | Yancey Parks | Amos Parnell | Mark Paulk | Susan Phillips | Robert Pierre | Bianca Polanco | Ron Porter | Henry Prestwick | Eloise Pritchart | Audrey Pyne | Hector Ramirez | Jesus Ramirez | Manuel Ramirez | Tomas Ramirez | Cordelia Ransom | Rhodes | Robert Rice | Nathan Robards | Robert Roden | King Roger III | Rivka Rosenfeld | Gianna Ryan | Edward Saganami | Oscar Saint-Just | Salzner | Samantha | Sampson | Sanmicheli | Elvis Santino | Mark Sarnow | James Shackleton | Ellen Shalus | Gary Shelton | Ellen Shemais | Eliza Shumate | Sam Smith | Scott Smith | Raymond Spruance | Kirios Steinbach | Stephanopoulos | Stevens | Angus Stone | Harold Styles | Jeremiah Sullivan | Leonard Sullivan | Allen Summervale | Denver Summervale | Sun-Tzu | Paul Tankersley | Jeremiah Tennard | Madison Thaddeus | Thomas Theisman | Theodore | Luke Thiele | Thoma | Thomason | Susan Thorn | Prestwick Thornegrave | Tobin | Togo | Lester Tourville | Adam Towson | Prescott Tremaine | Dennis Tresca | Aristides Trikoupis | Mirdula Trikoupis | Alice Truman | Avram Turner | Marisa Turner | Frances Tyler | Sheridan Wallace | James Webster | Miguel Williams | Alfred Willis | Joanna Winton | Roger Winton | Caitrin Winton-Henke | Isoroku Yamamoto | Yanakov | Judah Yanakov | Frances Yeargin | Paul Yearman | Jonathan Yerensky | Pavel Young | Stefan Young | Alfredo Yu | Zidaru |
- GLAC Intrepid
- GNS Benjamin the Great
- GNS Edward Esterhaus
- GNS Honor Harrington
- GNS Isaiah MacKenzie
- GNS Terrible
- Grayson One
- HMAMC Parnassus
- HMAMC Wayfarer
- HMLAC Bad Penny
- HMLAC Cutthroat
- HMS Amphitrite
- HMS Apollo
- HMS Belisarius
- HMS Edward Saganami
- HMS Fearless
- HMS Hadrian
- HMS Hydra
- HMS Incubus
- HMS Lysander
- HMS Madrigal
- HMS Minotaur
- HMS Nestor
- HMS Nicator
- HMS Nike
- HMS Prince Adrian
- HMS Troubadour
- HMS Queen Adrienne
- HMS War Maiden
- PNS Admiral Quinterra
- PNS Alphand
- PNS Count Tilly
- PNS DuChesnois
- PNS Equality
- PNS Lavalette
- PNS Poignard
- PNS Rene d'Aiguillon
- PNS Salamis
- PNS Schaumberg
- PNS Sovereignty of the People
- PNS Tepes
- PNS Timoleon
- PNS William T. Sherman
- Hadrian's World
- New Corsica
- San Martin
- Caliphate of Zanzibar
- People's Republic of Haven
- Princedom of Alizon
- Protectorate of Grayson
- Republic of Erewhon
- Republic of San Martin
- Silesian Confederacy
- Solarian League
- Star Kingdom of Manticore
Adler System | Admiralty House | Advanced Tactical Course | Alto Verdan Navy | Attica Avalanche | Austin Central Park | Austin City | Barnett System | Barony of High Ridge | Barony of Hightower | Barony of Morncreek | Basic Living Stipend | Bassingford Medical Center | Battle of Alizon | Battle of Blackbird | Battle of Barnett | Battle of Cerberus | Battle of Elric | Battle of MacGregor | Battle of Midway | Battle of Savo Island | Battle of the Farnham System | Battle of Zanzibar | Battles of Solway and Treadway | Bay House | Blackbird Yard | Burdette Steading | Bureau of Personnel | Bureau of Ships | Bureau of Weapons | Camp Charon | Capital Fleet | Cascabel System | Central War Room | Centrist Party | Cerberus System | Chairman's Guard | Chancellor (Grayson) | Chancellor of the Exchequer | Chaplain's Corps | Chief of Naval Operations (Haven) | Christmas | Church of Humanity Unchained | City of Mueller | Coleman Steading | Committee on Human Rights (Solarian League Assembly) | Committee of Public Safety | Conclave Chamber | Conclave of Steaders | Conclave of Steadholders | Conservative Association | Constitution (Grayson) | Constitution (Manticore) | Copperwalls | Cosmo's | Council of Elders | Councilor for Interstellar Affairs | Country and Western | Coup de vitesse | Cromarty Government | Crown Loyalist Party | Crown Reserve | Dazzlers | Dempsey's Bar | Denby Steading | Doctor Jennifer Chou Genetic Clinic | Doctrine of the Test | Dragon's Teeth | Duchy of Cromarty | Duchy of Harrington | Duchy of Waltham | Duchy of Winton-Serisburg | DuQuesne Base | Earldom of Gold Peak | Earldom of Gray Hill | Earldom of Harrington | Earldom of New Kiev | Earldom of North Hollow | Earldom of Sydon | Earldom of White Haven | Earth's Final War | East Shore | Eighth Fleet (Manticore) | Ellen D'Orville Hall | Elric System | Elysian Space Navy | Endicott System | Erewhon Navy | Ferret-class | Fifth Space Lord | First Battle of Hancock | First Lord of the Admiralty | First Space Lord | Fleet Officer Candidate School | Foreign Office | Foreign Secretary | Fourth Battle of Yeltsin's Star | Fourth Space Lord | Frisbee | General Board of Admiralty | General Staff | Ghost Rider | Governor's Council | Grayson Sky Domes, Ltd. | Grayson Space Marine Corps | Grayson Space Navy | Grayson Sword of State | Grendelsbane Station | Grendelsbane System | Gryphon Squadron | Hancock Station | Hancock Board | Hancock Report | Hancock System | Harrington House | Harrington Neurological Clinic | Harrington Key | Harrington Steadholder's Guard | Harrington Steading | Harrington Sword | Harris Assassination | Hauptman Cartel | Haven Sector | Haven System | High Ridge government | Home Secretary | Honor Harrington-class | House of Commons | House of Lords | House of Winton | Information Control Act | Interstellar News Service | Jason Bay | King Michael's Cathedral | King Michael's Tower | King Roger I Boulevard | LaFollet Clan | Landing City | Landing City Police Department | Legislaturalist | Leveler Uprising | Liberal Party | Liberty Crossing | Light Attack Craft | lizard-gull | Logistics Command | Lovat System | Lowell System | MacGregor System | Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Spacers | Manticoran Alliance | Manticoran near-jay | Manticore Wormhole Junction | Masadan Navy | Mayhew Cathedral | Mayhew Restoration | Mayhew Steading | Medical Bureau | Medusa-class | Medusan | Memory stone | Meyerdahl modification | Monarch's Own Regiment | Mount Royal Palace | Mueller Cathedral | Mueller House | Mueller Steadholder's Guard | Mueller Steading | Mylar System | Naval Intelligence Bureau | Naval Staff | New Covenant | New Order | Nightingale System | nose art | Nouveau Paris | Octagon | Office of Construction | Office of Financial Development | Office of Internal Security | Office of Naval Intelligence (RMN) | Office of Planetary Security | Office of Public Information | Office of State Security | Office of the Inquisition | Old Tilman | Olympus Mountains | Operation Bagration | Operation Buttercup | Operation Hassan | Operation Icarus | Operation Scylla | Order of King Roger | Owens House | Owens Steading | Owens System | Palace Guard Service | Palace Security (Grayson) | Palermo Range | Palmer Foundation | Palmer Institute | Parliamentary Medal of Valor | People's Commissioner | People's Navy | Planetary Assembly | President of San Martin | Primary Flight Operations | Prime Minister of the Star Kingdom of Manticore | Proctor Shipyards | Progressive Party | Promotions Board | Protector's Champion | Protector's Council | Protector's Own | Protector's Palace | Pseudogrizzly | psych rock | Public Order Police | Queen Caitrin's Suite | Queen's Bench | Queen's College | Regiano's | Reliant-class | Royal Manticoran Marine Corps | Royal Manticoran Naval Academy | Royal Manticoran Navy | Saganami Island | Samuel Silverman & Sons | San Martin Reconstruction Commission | San Martin Navy | Second Battle of Adler | Second Battle of Basilisk | Second Battle of Hancock | Second Battle of Seaford Nine | Second Grayson-Masadan War | Second Space Lord | Secretary of Public Information | Secretary of State Security | Secretary of Technology | Secretary of the Treasury | Secretary of War | Senate of the Republic of San Martin | Seydlitz-class | Ship List | Shrike-class | Solon System | Solway System | Sphinx Forestry Service | Sphinxian koi | Sigma Draconis System | Sign language | Silesian Sector | Slocum System | Solarian League Assembly | Solarian League Navy | Solway System | Star of Grayson | State Funeral of Honor Harrington | State Security Naval Forces | Steadholder's Hall | Steadholder's March | Steadholder's Square | Styx | Subversive Agitator Statutes | Sun-Yat System | Technical Conservation Act of 1778 PD | Tequila System | Thetis System | Third Battle of Yeltsin's Star | Third Fleet (Manticore) | Treadway System | Theisman Coup | Trevor's Star System | Twelfth Fleet (Haven) | Unicorn Belt | United Faxes Intergalactic | Warlord-class | Weapons Development Board | Welladay System | Westmount Crown Reserve | Winton modification | Yeltsin's Star System
|Book Companions||Ad Astra Companions|
|HOS||House of Steel Companion||SOTF||Ships of the Fleet Calendars|
|HOSH||House of Shadows Companion||SITS||Saganami Island Tactical Simulator|
|HOL||House of Lies Companion|
|Jayne's Intelligence Review||Jayne's Fighting Ships of the Galaxy|
|JIR1||The Royal Manticoran Navy||SB1||Ship Book 1: The Havenite Sector|
|JIR2||The Havenite Republican Navy||SB2||Ship Book 2: The Silesian Confederacy|
|JIR3||The Silesian Confederate Navy||SB3||Ship Book 3: The Short Victorious War|