Field of Dishonor consists of a prologue, 32 chapters, and an epilogue.
In the Advanced Tactical Course building's main lecture hall at the Royal Manticoran Naval Academy on Saganami Island, a group of senior officers watches a recording of Captain Honor Harrington's testimony concerning Captain Lord Pavel Young's conduct in the Battle of Hancock. She explains how he fled from the enemy against her expressed order, even when all other ships held their formation. The group then observes a holographic recreation of the relevant portion of the battle, showing how HMS Warlock abandoned her consorts after Rear Admiral Mark Sarnow was incapacitated.
The Honorable Alyce Cordwainer, Judge Advocate General of the Royal Manticoran Navy, endorses Vice Admiral Yancey Parks' recommendation of a court-martial against Captain Young. Fifth Space Lord Admiral Sir Lucien Cortez reminds everyone that the information they just saw is privileged, and the meeting ends.
Chapter One Edit
Manticoran Prime Minister Allen Summervale, Duke of Cromarty, meets with Michael Janvier, Baron High Ridge the leader of the Conservative Association. The baron brings up the rumors of a court-martial being prepared against Lord Young, and protests the very notion, going so far as to demand that the Queen herself drop the matter. If the court-martial should occur anyway, he threatens to delay the Conservative Association's approval for a formal declaration of war against the People's Republic of Haven indefinitely, or even oppose it outright.
Chapter Two Edit
First Space Lord Thomas Caparelli and First Lord of the Admiralty Francine Maurier, Baroness Morncreek review the officers selected as judges for the coming court-martial. They instantly realize that the court will be split in half, adding to the political tension behind the scenes. Caparelli points out that Honor Harrington may soon be the center of a media firestorm, and Lady Morncreek promises to talk to her about it when they meet at the palace on the following day.
Chapter Three Edit
Honor and Michelle Henke arrive at Mount Royal Palace for a private meeting with Her Majesty Elizabeth III. The Queen of Manticore brushes aside all formalities and starts joking around with her cousin and childhood friend Michelle, while also informing her that she has been promoted to Captain. She then introduces Honor to Baroness Morncreek, who explains that Henke is soon to take command of the light cruiser HMS Agni. Honor, meanwhile, is given the honorific rank of Colonel of Marines, a special show of approval of an officer too junior for promotion to flag rank -- including a colonel's salary in addition to regular pay.
Her Majesty and Lady Morncreek then explain the looming political crisis to Honor, and the fact that Lord Dimitri Young, Earl of North Hollow, will do whatever he can to save his son's life. They ask Honor to be wary of the "political minefield" unfolding before her, and how the nation's need for a viable military response to Haven's actions may force their hands, even if they're determined not to let him walk. Elizabeth actually apologizes, to Honor's embarrassment, and assures her that she will never forget all that she owes her.
Chapter Four Edit
Honor is hosting a meal at Cosmo's, one of Landing's most exclusive restaurants; guests include her financial advisor Willard Neufsteiler, her lover Paul Tankersley, her new senior Marine, Colonel Tomas Ramirez, and his executive officer, Major Susan Hibson. When they observe her treecat Nimitz's delight over a piece of celery, Honor relates to them the story of how humans and treecats first met when celery disappeared from the early colonists' greenhouses and one of her ancestors -- a ten-year-old girl -- caught the thief in the act.
Neufsteiler then tells her that the first quarterly income from her steading on Grayson has come in, as has the prize money for the Havenite ships she and Admiral Danislav captured in the Battle of Hancock. The latter alone amounts to nearly a hundred million dollars. While still shocked by the amount of money she now owns, Honor is delighted when Alistair McKeon, Andreas Venizelos, and Rafe Cardones arrive. After she has introduced everyone, Cardones informs her that he is her new tactical officer. After this good news, everyone settles down to hear of her latest adventures.
Chapter Five Edit
Later, Honor bids farewell to Michelle Henke, who leaves Nike to take command of Agni. Henke is disappointed when none of the other officers show up on the way to the boat bay, but when they arrive there, a Marine honor guard presents arms; the entire crew is waiting to honor her departure with full military ceremony. Realizing that she has been set up, Henke hands the reigns to Commander Evelyn Chandler, and tells her to "keep the Skipper out of trouble."
Pavel Young gets a visit from his father, the Earl of North Hollow. Bound to a counter-grav life-support chair, the old man chastises his son for screwing up his career, and tells him that in order to save him from the firing squad, he needs to know exactly what happened in Pavel's own words.
Admiral Lord Hamish Alexander, Earl White Haven, dines with his brother William and Admiral James Webster, commander of the Home Fleet, aboard the latter's flagship. White Haven is shocked that the Opposition is willing to delay the declaration of war now that the Navy is on the offensive and winning, and becomes even more displeased when he learns that he has been chosen as president of the board for Pavel Young's court-martial. He soon excuses himself to go see his wife, Emily.
Chapter Six Edit
Two days later, the official after-action report on the Battle of Hancock has been released, and Honor is being flooded with messages and interview requests. The media is digging up every detail they can find about her and Young's past, and even forced her mother to call the police about violations of privacy. Demonstrators in front of Parliament are even carrying Honor's image around on placards.
Paul Tankerley arrives to take her out to Kreskin Field and go flying in old-fashioned jetplanes.
Chapter Seven Edit
Later that same day, Captain Lord Pavel Young enters the court room moments before the board of judges does. Admiral White Haven begins the session and reads the charges against Young: that he broke off action against the enemy without orders to do so, that he disobeyed a direct order from the flagship to return to formation, that he compromised the integrity of his Task Force's missile defense, that his actions resulted from personal cowardice, and that they constitute an act of high treason against the Star Kingdom of Manticore.
Young pleads not guilty. Captain Ortiz of the JAG Corps delivers the prosecution's opening statement, and then calls Captain Dame Honor Harrington as her first witness.
Chapter Eight Edit
When the court-martial board retires for its deliberations, a heated discussion begins. White Haven, Admiral Theodosia Kuzak, and Captain Thor Simengaard are strongly in favor of convicting Young, while Admiral Sonja Hemphill, Rear Admiral Rexford Jurgens, and Commodore Antoinette Lemaitre are strictly against it. White Haven soon realizes that these deliberations will take some time.
Chapter Nine Edit
While Honor and everyone else is waiting, the board's discussion becomes more and more furious, to the point where Admiral White Haven has to order everyone to calm down. Admiral Hemphill, unwilling to let Young die, but also unwilling to let him go free, suggests a compromise.
When the court reconvenes, the point of Young's sword points ominously towards him, and Admiral White Haven reads the board's verdict: Young is found guilty of the first three charges, while the last two are dropped because no verdict could be reached. Thus, he is not sentenced to death, but the court declares him unfit to wear the Queen's uniform, to be stripped of all rank and privileges and dishonorably discharged from the Service within three days.
The moment the verdict is read, the Earl of North Hollow drops dead in his life-support chair.
Chapter Ten Edit
Honor and Paul lie in bed watching the political talk show Into the Fire, where the political consequences of the court-martial and the death of Lord North Hollow are being discussed. Then Honor receives a message from Admiral White Haven informing her that Nike will be reassigned to Task Force 4 under his command, to served as flagship for Admiral Mondeau. He also invites her to supper to discuss some further matters.
Chapter Eleven Edit
Honor arrives aboard the superdreadnought HMS Queen Caitrin for her meeting with White Haven. He once again congratulates her, but then informs her that she will be sent on extended leave, and that the government would appreciate it if she would go visit her holdings on Grayson for a while, thus getting her out of the media spotlight. Protector Benjamin IX has already requested her attendance of the Conclave of Steadholders in a few weeks. Honor has her doubts, but eventually agrees, since she wanted to deal with her new responsibilities as a Grayson feudal lord for some time.
Chapter Twelve Edit
Honor and Paul have a last talk about her family before saying their goodbyes as Honor makes her way to the cruiser GNS Jason Alvarez, her ride to Grayson. Paul gives her a going away present, a skinsuit for Nimitz. Honor is delighted and assures him of her continuing affection.
As she boards the Jason Alvarez, Honor is startled as she is welcomed by an honor guard of Grayson Marines, as befits a Steadholder of Grayson. Captain Mark Brentworth greats her warmly, and offers to take her on a tour of the ship later.
Chapter Thirteen Edit
Lord Pavel Young, 11th Earl of North Hollow, stares into his office mirror and suddenly bashes it in with his fist. He recalls how, five days ago, the court-martial's verdict was carried out, the insignia ripped off his uniform, the beret removed from his head, and his sword broken in two. How every other officer present turned away from him and marched off to the beat of a single drum, leaving him alone on the field of dishonor.
He then summons his advisors and tells them that he wants to use his maiden speech in Parliament to support the Government's position on the declaration of war. After dismissing his other aides, he talks to his and his father's security chief, Georgia Sakristos, in private. Addressing her as "Elaine", he makes it clear that he knows her true identity from his father's stash of secret files, and forces her into intimate acts.
Chapter Fourteen Edit
Honor and Nimitz are busy trying out the new skinsuit in the Jason Alvarez' gym with Captain Brentworth and parts of his crew watching. She is still in awe over the Grayson's reverence towards her. As she gets out of her gear, the Captain tells her how shocked his crew was that her steward is a man. Brentworth himself is shocked moments later when she asks him to call her by her first name, something that goes against his upbringing on many levels, especially since he finds her rather attractive. He concurs, however, when she requests it as a personal favor.
Some time later, the ship arrives in the Yeltsin's Star System and settles in the orbit of the planet Grayson. Honor observes the first units of the new Raoul Courvosier class, named in honor of her late mentor. All of them are named after the now-legendary HMS Madrigal and her martyred crew, as is the Jason Alvarez herself. Brentworth also shows her the eleven Havenite superdreadnoughts which Admiral White Haven gave to Grayson with the Queen's endorsement, and which now form the capital ship core of the rapidly expanding Grayson Space Navy.
Brentworth then invites her to join him in the boat bay, where High Admiral Wesley Matthews and several other senior officers are expected to welcome her.
Chapter Fifteen Edit
In a bar aboard the space station Hephaestus, Tomas Ramirez and Paul Tankersley are having a drink with Lieutenant Prescott Tremaine. They discuss how the Government was forced to admit the Earl of North Hollow to the House of Lords after he supported the declaration of war. Sergeant-Major Iris Babcock joins them and they have a chat when suddenly, Colonel Ramirez notices someone he knows: Denver Summervale, a disgraced former Marine who killed a fellow officer in a duel for money -- who happened to be Sergeant Babcock's lieutenant at the time. Everyone wonders what he is doing on the station.
Chapter Sixteen Edit
Honor makes her way to the Chamber of Steadholders, struggling with her unfamiliar dress, as she has never worn a skirt before. When the Door Warden stops her as part of the ritual, she states her name and title, and demands entry into the chamber, to be seated among her peers. She is allowed to enter, the first woman in the history of this world ever to do so. Protector Benjamin IX asks if any of the Steadholders present challenges her claim, and none do so, he asks her to kneel and swear fealty.
She does so under two reservation: first, that she be allowed to remain a Manticoran citizen and an officer in the RMN, and second, that she not be forced to become a member of the Church of Humanity Unchained. The Steadholders approve the first reservation, while the Reverend Julius Hanks declares her to be a "good and godly woman" whom the Church will accept as its champion and defender.
Honor then delivers the oath of fealty to Benjamin IX. The Chamber applauds as she takes the Grayson Sword of State, symbol of her sacred office as Protector's Champion, and then officially takes over control of Harrington Steading from her regent, Howard Clinkscales.
Chapter Seventeen Edit
Aboard Hephaestus, Paul Tankersley overhears Denver Summervale insulting Honor in public, and confronts him. When Summervale further questions his and Honor's reputation, Tankersley strikes him, for which the professional duelist quickly demands satisfaction. Tankersley realizes his mistake, but accepts the publicly made challenge.
Chapter Eighteen Edit
A month later, Honor and Clinkscales have worked tirelessly to familiarize her with her duties as a steadholder, and she cannot help but wonder why they work so well together. Clinkscales makes it clear that he may not agree with all of her or Protector Benjamin's decisions, but he is confident that they only want the best for Grayson, and will support them as long as his advancing age permits it.
They then meet with Adam Gerrick, an engineer who wants to build translucent crystoplast domes over structures and farms to protect them from Grayson's deadly biosphere. However, the pilot project alone would cost ten million austins, or 7,5 million Manticoran dollars. Clinkscales points out that the Steading cannot afford such costs at this point, so Honor decides to found a private company, Grayson Sky Domes, Ltd., with herself as majority shareholder so she can invest her Manticoran fortune in the idea. Gerrick will be its chief engineer and development officer, with Clinkscales as the CEO.
Later, news arrives that HMS Agni has arrived, and Michelle Henke is on her way to Harrington House in a pinnace. When her best friend arrives, Honor is shocked by the feelings of grief and anguish she picks up from her through Nimitz's empathic link. Henke eventually hugs her, and tells her that Paul was killed in a duel.
Chapter Nineteen Edit
Georgia Sakristos, unwilling to bear the brutal sexual treatment from Lord North Hollow another day, makes a call to share some important information.
A short time later, Alistair McKeon, Andy Venizelos, and Tomas Ramirez are approached by Rear Admiral Mark Sarnow, whose chief of staff informs them about an anonymous com call he received recently. According to the woman who contacted him, Summervale was indeed hired to kill Paul Tankersley, and intends to do the same with Honor once she returns from Grayson and challenges him on sight. Right now, he is hiding in a hunting chalet on Gryphon.
Sarnow points out that he cannot tell them what to do with this information and then leaves -- wishing them good hunting.
Chapter Twenty Edit
Two days after her arrival, Mike Henke goes to see Honor, who is so lost in her grief that even Nimitz has stopped eating, affected by her emotions as much as his own. Henke is surprised to find Honor dressed in her RMN uniform, and follows her to Agni's firing range.
Once there, Honor requests a ten-millimeter handgun and starts training on human targets under Manticore gravity conditions -- with the distance commonly used in duels.
Chapter Twenty-One Edit
Colonel Ramirez and his marines have gotten permission to conduct a training exercise on Gryphon, which just happens to take them to the hunting chalet where Denver Summervale is hiding. Accompanied by Scotty Tremaine and Chief Horace Harkness, they quickly overwhelm his guards and begin to question Summervale in a manner rather painful for him.
Chapter Twenty-Two Edit
As Agni arrives back in Manticore, Honor quickly departs, driven only by her fiery desire for revenge. She introduces Commander Chandler to Major Andrew LaFollet, the head of her Grayson detachment of personal armsmen, and asks her to introduce him to Colonel Ramirez.
The Colonel soon meets with Honor and explains to her that Summervale confessed to having been hired to kill Paul and her -- by the Earl of North Hollow.
Chapter Twenty-Three Edit
Colonel Ramirez and Major LaFollet discuss the nature of the Grayson armsmen's presence, and the fact that even Lady Harrington herself seems to be unaware that they are to accompany her wherever she goes from now on. Ramirez points out that it is illegal for foreigners to carry weapons aboard RMN ships and stations, but LaFollet makes it clear that the Harrington Guard is obligated to protect the Steadholder no matter what. He also explains that he volunteered for the Guard the day it was formed, since his brother died in the attempt on the Protector's life that Harrington foiled. He explains that every single member of his team volunteered because they love her, as a symbol, as a heroine, and as their liege lady. The Colonel accepts this explanation and welcomes the Major aboard.
Honor wakes up early and finally reads the countless messages of condolence she has received from numerous friends and colleagues, including the Lords of the Admiralty, the Prime Minister, and the Queen herself. After MacGuiness makes her breakfast, Admiral White Haven calls her and tells her to take her time getting settled back in.
Chapter Twenty-Four Edit
When confronted by some reporters, Honor is promptly shielded off by her new armsmen, who will not suffer their Steadholder being pestered by the media. As of that morning, they are officially protected by a special writ from the Queen's Bench, granting them permission to carry arms as well as diplomatic immunity.
As Denver Summervale plots his revenge on Colonel Ramirez for torturing him, Honor appears and publicly accuses him of having taken money from North Hollow for killing Paul Tankersley. When he is too shocked to answer, she slaps him across the face, again and again, until he finally demands satisfaction. She then names Colonel Ramirez as her second, and invokes the Ellington Protocol, which means a duel to the death.
Chapter Twenty-Five Edit
Honor is busy with paperwork when Admiral White Haven visits her and desperately tries to talk her out of the duel. They have a heated argument at the end of which he angrily orders her not to challenge North Hollow to duel.
Chapter Twenty-Six Edit
At the day of the duel, Honor makes her way to the field of honor with Ramirez and her friends, and meets Denver Summervale. As the duel commences, the hired assassin has just enough time to realize that she is shooting from the hip, before her fifth bullet hits him between the eyes, killing him instantly.
Chapter Twenty-Seven Edit
A shocked Pavel Young ponders his next options now that Summervale is dead and he has been publicly accused of hiring an assassin to kill a fellow peer.
As all hell breaks loose around him, Prime Minister Cromarty coms the queen, telling her what happenend and mentioning that Admiral White Haven ordered Captain Harrington not to challenge North Hollow. Elizabeth III is furious at the suggestion of denying Honor her rightful vengeance, and forbids Cromarty and White Haven to pressure her in any way.
Chapter Twenty-Eight Edit
Admiral White Haven meets with First Space Lord Caparelli and convinces him to reassign Honor to the Santander System, thus denying her the opportunity to meet and challenge North Hollow in person, as the Code Duello demands.
Honor and Willard Neufsteiler meet at Regiano's -- against Major LaFollet's advice -- to discuss the transfer of her funds to Grayson for the crystoplast project. Neufsteiler also informs her that the Earl of North Hollow is hiding in his mansion, only coming out to attend sessions of the House of Lords. As they discuss the matter further, LaFollet suddenly grabs Honor and snatches her backward, as someone starts shooting at them. Neufsteiler is hit by a splinter from the destroyed table, and Honor has to hold on to Nimitz to keep him from charging into the line of fire. As the police arrives, it is clear to everyone who was behind this renewed assassination attempt.
Chapter Twenty-Nine Edit
Georgia Sakristos continues to plot against North Hollow, intent on removing him and strengthening her influence on his younger brother and heir, Stefan.
Inspector Pressman of the Landing City Police Department tells Honor that they will not be able to tie the three assassins at the restaurant to anyone, and also advises her to keep her armsmen close. As she leaves the station, she suddenly has an idea on how to get to North Hollow.
Chapter Thirty Edit
While attending a session of the House of Lords, Pavel Young ponders his situation, which has only gotten worse after the failed attempt on Harrington's life. Then, the speaker calls the room to order, and explains that though it is customary for new peers to send notice and be sponsored before taking their place in the House, the exigencies of military service are actually a legitimate reason for them to appear at a time convenient to the House as a whole. At that point, to Young's horror, Honor Harrington enters the room to give her maiden address.
She explains that her ship is to depart to Santander soon, so she has to be invested now. As her first act, she accuses North Hollow of being a murderer, coward and would-be rapist, and challenges him to meet her on the field of honor to answer for his many crimes.
Chapter Thirty-One Edit
The Prime Minister and the Alexander brothers discuss the fallout of Honor's challenge; Baron High Ridge has requested her exclosure from the House of Lords, and even though North Hollow has invoked the Dreyfus Protocol, everyone on Manticore is certain that Lady Harrington will kill him with the first shot.
Rafe Cardones watches as Honor says goodbye to Nike, knowing that she will lose command of the ship and be put on half-pay indefinetly once she has had her revenge. Then she leaves, and Cardones feels like the ship has become smaller with her departure.
Chapter Thirty-Two Edit
Back on the dueling grounds, Pavel Young and Honor Harrington face off at last. Aware of his low chances, the Earl of North Hollow panics once again, turning around before being permitted to do so and firing at Honor's back. She is hit, but still has time to return fire, killing her old enemy with three shots to the heart even before the Master of the Field's pulser darts tear him to shreds.
Honor watches James MacGuiness take the last of her possessions out of her former cabin aboard Nike. Having been excluded from the Lords, she finds that having killed Young brings her no pleasure, just as it will never bring Paul Tankersley back to her. On her way out, she meets Admiral White Haven, who asks her to speak with him in private. She explains that she will return to Grayson to continue building up her steading, and that she regrets going against his order. White Haven points out that the order was illegal anyway, and that she did the right thing.
He also says that the Navy -- and the Star Kingdom -- will need her in the war that they have just begun, and once the scandal has died down, they will call on her once more. Then he watches her go into exile, with her head held high.