Timeframe: July 1922 PD – March 1923 PD
Cover Summary Edit
- HONOR'S FINISHING WHAT SHE STARTED
- The Solarian League's navy counts its superdreadnoughts by the thousands. Not even its own government knows how enormous its economy truly is. And for hundreds of years, the League has borne the banner of human civilization, been the ideal to which humanity aspires in its diaspora across the galaxy.
- But the bureaucrats known as the "Mandarins", who rule today's League, are not the men and women who founded it so long ago. They are corrupt, venal, accountable to no one . . . and they've decided the upstart Star Kingdom of Manticore must be destroyed.
- Honor Harrington has worn the Star Kingdom's uniform for half a century and served her monarch and her people well. In the course of those years, the woman the newsies call the Salamander has grown from a tactically brilliant but politically naïve junior officer to supreme fleet command and a seat on the highest military and political councils of the Grand Alliance.
- Very few people know war the way Honor Harrington does. Very few have lost as many men and women, as many friends, as much family, as she has. Yet despite that, hers has been a voice of caution. She knows the Mandarins and the Solarian League Navy are growing increasingly desperate as the truth of their technological inferiority sinks home, but she also knows the sheer size of the League. And she knows how its citizens will react if the Grand Alliance takes the war to the League, attacks its star systems, destroys its infrastructure . . . kills its civilians. Today's victory, bought on those terms, can only guarantee a future war of revenge against a resurgent Solarian League and its navy.
- Honor knows the Grand Alliance must find a victory that doesn't require incursions deep into Solarian space, doesn't leave a legacy of bottomless hatred, and the strategy she supports has been working.
- The League is sliding towards inglorious defeat as it steadily loses ground in the Protectorates and the Verge. As its central government teeters towards bankruptcy and even some of its core systems opt to secede in the face of the Mandarins' corruption. As the Solarian Navy finally realizes it cannot face an Alliance battle fleet and win.
- But the Mandarins have embraced a desperate new strategy, and in pursuit of that strategy, the SLN has committed atrocities such as the galaxy has not known in a thousand years. The League have violated its own Eridani Edict against mass civilian casualties, violated the Deneb Accords prohibition on war crimes.
- And they have finally killed too many of the people Honor Harrington loves.
- Hers is the voice of caution and compromise no longer, and the galaxy is about to see something it has never imagined.
- The Salamander is coming for the Solarian League, and Hell is coming in her wake.
While the Star Empire of Manticore and the Grand Alliance prepare for the war against the Solarian League, the biggest star nation in the galaxy, the Mandarins that lead the League, knowing of the great advantage in technology and firepower the Grand Alliance possesses, decide to launch Operation Buccaneer, which is intended to destroy the spaceborne infrastructure of several neutral systems for trading with Manticore, as well as Hypatia, a Core World that has decided to follow Beowulf's lead in voting a referendum to secede from the League.
Manticoran engineers manage to find proof that Fleet Admiral Filareta's attack during the Second Battle of Manticore may have been caused by the Mesan nanotech virus. Meanwhile, on Earth, Daud al-Fanudahi's little group - which has nicknamed itself "Ghost Hunters" - begins to investigate the moles hidden within the League's central government and find out that the "Other Guys" have people of high standing at pretty much every level of government, using their influence for nebulous, but obviously nefarious, purposes. An agent of Frontier Security's Intelligence Branch brings news that the Maya Sector may be involved in shenanigans with Manticore.
Operation Buccaneer begins with the destruction of the Cachalot System's orbital infrastructure, and proceeds to go to Hypatia, which has just voted its referendum in favor of secession. While a small Manticoran fleet fights off a Solarian task force sent to take the Prime-Ajay Hyper Bridge with little to no casualties, a smaller picket ends in Hypatia when the SLN arrives. After it becomes obvious that the Solarian Admiral intends to attack even though it will mean killing millions of people, the RMN heroically manages to knock out half his fleet and bluff the rest into retiring, while suffering catastrophic casualties of their own. The study of the lost Solarian ships reveals the existence of a maneuver called "Parthian Shot", which would consist of the Solarian warships firing their missiles without allowing an evacuation, should they face serious military opposition.
Oravil Barregos, Governor of the Maya Sector, finds out that two self-described Manticoran agents are actually agents of the Mesan Alignment, but they commit suicide through nanotech, while the Ghost Hunters and Frontier Security attempt to find more about events. Damien "Firebrand" Harahap, the former OFS/Mesan agent, is brought to Manticore and tells everything he knows about the Alignment. Things take a sudden turn when the treecat assigned to Harahap, Clean Killer, unexpectedly bonds with him, ensuring his full turn to Manticore's side.
The Mesan Alignment plots an attack on Beowulf to coincide with the future Solarian strike, and the Mandarins and the Ghost Hunters react to the events in the Mobius System. The results of Operation Buccaneer begin to reach Earth, with Hypatia and Ajay starting to turn Admiral Winston Kingsford against his erstwhile masters, particularly as they order him to plan an attack against Beowulf. However, he changes his mind about the attack when he learns of a new military development by his R&D people. Barregos appears in a public conference announcing his intention to lead the Maya Sector to independence from the Solarian League, also warning about the Alignment's false flag plans and the threat they represent.
Beowulf finally votes in his referendum, which ends up being overwhelmingly in favor of independence. Kolokoltsov learns from one of his analysts that the Manticorans may have indeed caused the rebellions in the Verge, in spite of their claims, not knowing about the Alignment's role, and instructs Kingsford to take out the missile production lines in Beowulf.
Reaction to Barregos' announcement begins to spread. Manticore announces its intention to support those groups in the Verge seeking a peaceful independence from the League, and the Ghost Hunters explore what it might mean for their investigation. Anton Zilwicki learns that Victor Cachat and Thandi Palane have managed to survive in Mesa, but also that a large number of nuclear strikes – secretly initiated by Albrecht Detweiler, deceased in the bombings, when he realized he would not be able to escape Mesa – have struck the planet, and the locals are blaming the Manticorans, who are unable to find any proof of the Alignment's actions. While Albrecht's sons plot revenge, the Mandarins decide to take advantage of the Manticorans seemingly losing the moral high ground to not only turn public opinion against them, but also to manipulate the League Assembly into ammending the Constitution so they can start direct taxation to fund the close-to-bankruptcy government.
The Ghost Hunters continue their investigation: one of their number decides to cut to the chase and capture one of their suspects, but said suspect dies the same way as the two Alignment agents that visited Barregos. While the rest of the group is incensed about the action, it gives them evidence and clues about the direction they should sniff around.
Beowulf hosts a conference so the Grand Alliance can decide how to deal with the recent events, moment in which the Solarian League Navy attacks Beowulf: in spite of the sudden deactivation of the Mycrof defensive system and a sudden surprise in the form of the Hasta missiles, the Manticorans manage to prevent the League from destroying their intended objectives, but their celebration is cut short when several nuclear bombs destroy Beowulf's main space stations, killing more than 43 million people, including Hamish Alexander-Harrington. The news cause the already frail Emily Alexander-Harrington to die in Honor's arms.
The Grand Alliance is struck by the suddenness of the attack. Among the 43 million dead people were many high-ranking officers and politicians of the Alliance, and they feel division over how to act. Honor, in a tranquil fury, argues that this time they cannot wait for the Solarian League to stand down: they have to end the war as soon as possible.
The Ghost Hunters bring Admiral Kingsford into their investigation: he is initially skeptical, but changes his mind when his main analyst suddenly drops dead when the Hunters attempt to arrest him, and decides to join forces with them, rooting out all the Alignment moles in his personnel.
Honor leads the Grand Fleet straight to the Sol System, forcing the surrender of a small picket line and Naval Station Ganymede, the SLN's largest base, while obviously itching for a chance to attack those she considers responsible for her spouses' deaths. She gives them four days to evacuate all their deep space infrastructure and scuttle all their ships, after which she will destroy everything.
While Kingsford rushes to follow the orders, Honor receives a surprising visitor: Hamish. As it turns out, the Solarian attack on Beowulf directed the yacht he was in – owned by Honor's uncle Jacques – to an out-of-the-way section of Beowulf Alpha, which was close enough to a maintenance station for them to get into survival suits.
After her time limit runs out, Honor has the vast orbital infrastructure of the Sol System destroyed, and delivers an ultimatum: if the Solarian League does not arrest the Mandarins, retire from the Verge, and reform its constitution to ensure a return to democratic, representative government, she will proceed to destroy the infrastructure of every Core system, by order of wealth, until they accept her terms. Admiral Kingsford and a Debuty Attorney General decide to launch a coup and have the Mandarins arrested, accepting the Alliance's terms.
Several months later, the Solarian League begins to reform. Its Protectorates have become independent, some with more bloodshed than others. The Grand Alliance ensures its structures become more permanent – and Honor decides to retire from the military so she can take care of her family and bring Emily's second child to term (despite being offered the post of First Space Lord). Queen Elizabeth is not worried, though, because she knows that, when the time comes where she is needed, Honor Harrington will be ready to lead the Navy again.
The eARC of the book was released on 1 April 2018.
Human Characters Edit
Tyler Abercrombie | Malachai Abruzzi | Emily Alexander | Hamish Alexander | Raoul Alexander-Harrington | William Alexander | Jaques Benton-Ramirez y Chou | Absolon Badrani | Oravil Barregos | Lupe Blanton | Mercedes Brigham | Victor Cachat | Gabriel Caddell-Markham | Thomas Caparelli | Vincent Capriotti | Rafael Cardones | Clarence | Angela Clayton | Philip Clayton | Lucien Cortez | Sandra Crandall | William Daniels | Justin Dantas | Elizabeth Davis | Benjamin Detweiler | Collin Detweiler | Daniel Detweiler | Oliver Diamato | Elijah Dimas | Cheryl Dunstan-Meyers | Daud al-Fanudahi | Massimo Filareta | Steven Firestine | Shannon Foraker | Pamela Furman | Simeon Gaddis | Patricia Givens | Martin Gogunov | George Gordon | Indiana Graham | Mateo Gutierrez | Caswell Gweon | Maridors Haeckle | Damien Harahap | Alfred Harrington | Allison Harrington | Honor Harrington | Sandra Haskell | Spencer Hawke | Abigail Hearns | Angelica Helland | Michelle Henke | Susan Hibson | Marianne Holmon-Sanders | Jane Isotalo | Markéta Ilkova | Jean-Louis Jackson | Andrea Jaruwalski | Willis Jennings | David Kalet | Jason Kindrick | Winston Kingsford | Ranald Kivlochan | Bill Knight | Gregoire Koenig | Innokentiy Kolokoltsov | Alethea Kourniakis | Alexia Kourniakis | Lawrence Kourniakis | Jan Kotouč | Carl Latimer | Ingrid Latimer | Peter Latimer | Maleen Lamizana | Anthony Langtry | Terry Lassaline | Timothy Laughton | Cynthia Lecter | Martin Lessem | Sara Kate Lessem | Ching-yan Lewis | Jukka Longacre | Nathan MacArtney | James MacGuiness | Benjamin Mayhew | Michael Mayhew | Francine Maurier | Corey McAvoy | Jefferson McClure | Enwright McGill | Palko Nakada | Ganesh Naran | Bethany Ning-ju | Franklin Nisyrios | Rajmund Nyhus | Natsuko Okiku | Shulamit Onassis | Sheila O'Reilly | Jackson Ortega-Burns | Léonard Pataloeshti | Yvonne Paulson | Erzébet Pelletier | Megan Petersen | Joshua Pinder-Swun | Millicent Quigley | Omosupe Quartermain | Kimmo Ramaalas | George Reynolds | Franziska Ridolfi | Marie-Claire Rorendaal | Barthilu Rosiak | Ellis Rupp | Lyang-tau Rutgers | Barton Salgado | Helmut Santini | Benjamin Schalken | Jason Schlegel | Reuben Sedgewick | James Sena | Ellen Shemais | Harold Simmons-Gilchrest | Jayson Stob | Bryce Tarkovsky | Irene Teague | Thomas Theisman | Sandra Thurston | Gabriella Timberlake | Luca Tomei | Alice Truman | Imogene Tsang | Franklin Tsukatani | Jansen Vasiliou | Edward White | Misty White | Zachary White | Agatá Wodoslawski | Thomas Wozniak | Judah Yanakov | Madhura Yang-O'Grady | Thomas Yountz | Alfredo Yu | Weng Zhing-hwan | Anton Zilwicki
Treecat Characters Edit
Ariel | Bark Chewer's Bane | Bark Master | Crafty Mind | Fire Watch | Grace | Heart Singer | Hunts Silently | Lurks in Braches | Monroe | Nimitz | Pounces on Leaves | Samantha | Silver Claw | Sun Catcher | Sun Heart | Thought Chaser
GSNS Protector Oliver I | HMS Ajax | HMS Arngrim | HMS Artemis | HMS Cinqueda | HMS Duke of Cromarty | HMS Michael Cucchiarelli | HMS Echidna | HMS Edward Dravecky | HMS Fafnir | HMS Honda Tadakatsu | HMS Imperator | HMS Jennifer Woodward | HMS Lancaster | HMS Margaret Mallory | HMS Minion | HMS Obusier | HMS Oliver Savander | HMS Phantom | HMS Pierrier | HMS Rich Ruscholka | HMS Robert L. Gartner | HMS Shelly Ann Jensen | HMS Shikomizue | HMS So-po | HMS Talwar | HMS Tristram | HMS Vukodlak | HMS William S. Patterson | SLNS Andromeda | SLNS Bavaria | SLNS Camperdown | SLNS Chamberlin | SLNS Colossus | SLNS Edinorg | SLNS Enterprise | SLNS Foudroyant | SLNS Hamidieh | SLNS Hercules | SLNS Hindustan | SLNS Kilkis | SLNS Leonhard Euler | SLNS Lepanto | SLNS Marengo | SLNS Merchant Mart | SLNS Minotaur | SLNS Neptune | SLNS Ocean | SLNS Ohio | SLNS Philip Oppenheimer | SLNS Ontario | SLNS Queen | SLNS Québec | SLNS Re Umberto | SLNS Revanche | SLNS Stevedore | SLNS Timberlake | SLNS Troubadour | SLNS Voltigeur | SLNS Yashima | BSDS Hawthorne | BSDS Lysander | PY Anachronism | SLMS Star Galleon |
Star Systems Edit
Space Stations Edit
Beowulf Alpha | Beowulf Beta | Beowulf Gamma | Forge One | HMSS Hephaestus Alpha | Ivaldi Orbital Works No. 1 | Naval Station Ganymede | Naval Station Mars | Prásino Phúllo Habitat | Unicorn Salvage Yard | Unicorn Seven
- Andermani Empire
- Protectorate of Grayson
- Republic of Haven
- Republic of Beowulf
- Star Empire of Manticore
- Solarian League
- Mayan Autonomous Regional Sector
- Mesan Alignment
air car | Alexandria Belt | Apollo | Atlas class (SLN) | Battle of Beowulf | Battle of Hypatia | Battle of the Prime-Ajay Hyper Bridge | Battle of Sol | Battle of Spindle | Cachalot System Patrol | Cassandra Yards | Cataphract | Cruiser Squadron 912 | Cruiser Squadron 572 | Deneb Accords | Detweiler Plan | Eleventh Fleet (SLN) | Eridani Edict | Family Support Command (GSN) | George Benton Center for Interstellar Studies | Gorgon Belt | Ghost Rider | Grand Alliance | Harrington genotype | Hasta | Husky | Hypatia System Patrol | Ivaldi of Beowulf | Kalokainos Shipping | Lester Allen Kovalenko Prize | Mesan Atrocity | Mycroft | Office of Frontier Security | Operation Buccaneer | Operation Fabius | Operation Nemesis | Operation Raging Justice | Outcasts | Parthian Shot | Prime Terminus Traffic Control Command | pulser | Select Committee (SKM) | Silver Bullet | Snapper Belt | Solarian League Constitution | Spider Drive | Stickel & Lyman | Strategy and Planning (SLN) | Task Force Two (Grand Fleet) | Task Force Three (Grand Fleet) | Task Force 47 | Task Force 783 | Task Force 790 | Task Force 1027 | Task Force 1030 | Task Group 110.2 | Technodyne Industries | Voyager class | Warshawski Center for Applied Astrophysics | Whitethorn class
|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|