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Timeframe: 1911 PD
- Honor Harrington's career has its ups and its downs. She's survived ship-to-ship battles, assassins, political vendettas, and duels. She's been shot at, shot down, and just plain shot, had starships blown out from under her, and made personal enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin her, and somehow she's survived it all.
- But this time she's really in trouble.
- The People's Republic of Haven has finally found an admiral who can win battles, and Honor's orders take her straight into an ambush. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to run, she has just two options: see the people under her command die in a hopeless, futile battle... or surrender them-and herself-to the People's Republic of Haven.
- There can be only one choice, and at least the People's Navy promises to treat their prisoners honorably. But the Navy is overruled by the political authorities, and Honor finds herself bound for a prison planet aptly named "Hell" ... and her scheduled execution.
- Put into solitary confinement, separated from her officers and her treecat Nimitz, and subjected to systematic humiliation by her gaolers, Honor's future has become both bleak and short. Yet bad as things look, they're about to get worse ... for the People's Republic of Haven.
Honor Harrington has been promoted to Commodore, a rank so high that she will never personally command a ship again. The promotion comes through as she returns to Harrington Steading on Grayson, after having spent the previous months advising and working with the Weapons Development Board.
Honor has not returned alone, however, as her treecat Nimitz has mated with Samantha, who has borne 'kittens. The Bright Water Clan has also dispatched eight adult treecats to help raise the kittens and establish a treecat colony on Grayson. During a party in Harrington Steading, Honor and Admiral White Haven discuss the WDB's radical suggestions: as authored by Harrington, the final recommendations were to radically revise the fleet, by beginning the construction of a new class of superdreadnoughts with hollow cores, appropriate for releasing large numbers of missile pods which permit simultaneous launch of more missiles than a single ship could ever fire; other new developments are LAC carriers and a new generation of remotely-deployed EW drones. White Haven, in a knee-jerk response to anything smacking of the technological innovation, opposes the recommendations without examining the full report, and Honor forcefully refutes his opposition. As she argues for the recommendations, Honor suddenly realizes that the Admiral is in love with her -- and, even more shocking, that her feelings for him are strong as well. This is a dilemma, as White Haven is both married and her superior officer.
In an attempt to escape her own feelings, Honor goes with Alistair McKeon on a convoy escort mission to the Adler System, a small system near the front line. Unbeknownst to them, Adler has been the victim of a lightning sneak attack masterminded by Rear Admiral Lester Tourville of the People's Navy, under the orders of Thomas Theisman.
During the hyperspace transition, Honor boards McKeon's heavy cruiser HMS Prince Adrian for his birthday party, and is still aboard when the ship drops out of hyper well before the rest of the convoy as a point guard. Due to the absence of the expected system picket, Prince Adrian proceeds cautiously, detecting the Havenite ships waiting to ambush the convoy; the only possible course is to draw the ambushers away from the convoy. They hold off the enemy long enough for the transports to escape, then, out-matched and unable to escape, Honor orders McKeon to surrender his ship.
At first, Honor and her officers are treated respectfully by Tourville and Theisman, who remember Honor's treatment of Havenite prisoners such as Shannon Foraker, and the Havenite officers plan to inter Harrington and her officers in a Navy-run POW camp instead of turning her over to the Office of State Security. Unfortunately, Secretary of Public Information Cordelia Ransom happens to be in the system testing Theisman's political loyalty and developing propaganda. She demands that the Manticorans be surrendered to her. Unable to deny Ransom and her StateSec enforcers, Admiral Theisman does as ordered.
Honor, McKeon, and the rest of the crew are transferred to the modified battlecruiser PNS Tepes, which is run entirely by State Security as Ransom's personal flagship, bound for the secret prison planet Hades, where Ransom intends to execute the sentence the legislaturalists passed upon Honor for the First Battle of Basilisk. The rest of the prisoners are merely sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. The journey towards Hades is marked by Honor's torture at the hands of the StateSec personnel and the general mistreatment of the prisoners, except Horace Harkness, who defects to the dismay of his friend and admirer, Prescott Tremaine.
Back on Grayson, Allison Chou Harrington is attempting to cure genetic diseases by setting up a modern genetic clinic, and the treecats begin setting up their first off-planet colony. The Manticoran Admiralty is occupied defending against Esther McQueen's attacks and preparing their new weapons, hoping to deliver a knock-out blow to end the war.
Unbeknownst to StateSec, Horace Harkness has no intention of truly defecting, and after fooling his assigned watchdogs, hacks into Tepes' security and communication systems, eventually disabling them and causing massive explosions in the boat bays. He then breaks out his fellow Manticorans, and while a group rescues Honor, the rest fight their way through the ship. In the remaining undamaged boat bay, they jury-rig the four remaining small vessels: the first is programmed to go on an unmanned kamikaze ride through the minefields surrounding Hades (the detonating nuclear mines blinding the sensors of the escort vessels); the second and third assault shuttles are used to escape the ship; and the fourth is modified to bring up its impeller wedge inside the battlecruiser, causing a catastrophic explosion and killing all left aboard.
Despite their remarkable escape, the Manticorans find themselves stranded on Hades, the Havenite prison-planet with StateSec guards on a separate island and unknown amounts of prisoners from Manticore and other star systems. In addition, Honor's left arm has had to be amputated and others have injuries too.
Honor's captivity aboard the Tepes as described in this book serves as the framing device for the Tales of Honor comic series started in 2014: while being tortured and interrogated by Ransom and her minions, Honor finds relief in dwelling in the memories of her earlier missions, beginning with Basilisk Station.
Emily Alexander | Hamish Alexander | William Alexander | Gianna Ascher | Ron Bergren | Hugh Candleman | Jamie Candless | Warner Caslet | Carson Clinkscales | Arnie Dreyfus | Sarah DuChene | Queen Elizabeth III | Shannon Foraker | Harrison Fraiser | Greenslade | Thomas Greentree | Horace Harkness | Honor Harrington | Hayman | Everard Honeker | Eddy Howard | Abraham Jackson | Jewel | Heinrich Johnson | Andrew LaFollet | George LeMoyne | Karen Lowe | Lowell | Mancuso | Mazyrak | Marcia McGinley | Alistair McKeon | Geraldine Metcalf | Fritz Montoya | Nimitz | Eloise Pritchart | Cordelia Ransom | Madeleine Sorbanne | Thomas Theisman | Lester Tourville | Dennis Tresca | Prescott Tremaine | Wallace Turner | Ukovski | Andreas Venizelos | Henri Vladovich | Wade | Enrico Walker | Helen Zachary
Adler System | Bernard Yanakov Tactical Simulation Center | genie | Madras System | neural whip | quick heal | Parnassians | Reuters of Beowulf | Royal Manticoran Marine Corps | Royal Manticoran Navy | Seljuk System | State Security Naval Forces | Sullah System | Sun-Yat System | Welladay 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|