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, aware that the Grand Alliance holds a great advantage in technology and firepower, decide to launch Operation Buccaneer: a punitive expedition aimed at destroying the spaceborn infrastructure of several neutral nations that are trading with Manticore as well as Hypatia, a Core World that has decided to follow Beowulf's lead in seceding from the League.
At Manticore, the Royal Navy engineers find proof that Fleet Admiral Filareta intended to surrender during the Second Battle of Manticore, but someone else initiated the alpha strike and activated a bomb that killed everyone on Flag bridge: this is considered further proof of the Mesan nanotech virus. Meanwhile, on Earth, the now-nicknamed "Ghost Hunters" led by Daud al-Fanudahi begins to seek the moles hidden within the League's central government and bureaucracy: much to their concern, the "Other Guys" (as they have taken to call the group manipulating the League) have people of high standing at every level of the bureaucracy in their payroll, 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 some kind of shenanigans with Manticore.
Cachalot System's orbital infrastructure is the first to suffer the effects of Operation Buccaneer, and soon other systems begin to follow. While a small Manticoran fleet fights off a Solarian task force sent to take the Prime-Ajay Hyper Bridge with few casualties, a smaller picket is sent to Hypatia (which is holding its referendum) at the petition of its President, who fears (correctly) that an attack will happen. When the Solarian Admiral in charge of destroying Hypatia's infrastructure makes it clear that he will carry out his orders even though it will mean killing millions of people, the RMN picket launches a desperate suicide attack to hold the line, knocking out half the Solarian fleet and bluffing the other half into retreat, while suffering catastrophic losses of their own, partly due to the Solarians violating the Deneb Accords by firing into those ships that have been left helpless. This also allows the Manticorans to find that Operation Buccaneer has standing orders to launch their missiles at the infrastructure without warning if they find serious opposition, killing millions of people as they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time.
In the Maya Sector, its governor Oravil Barregos meets with two self-described Manticoran agents, who commit suicide when they find out Barregos knows they are actually agents of the Mesan Alignment. The Ghost Hunters and Frontier Security attempt to find answers to the enigmas in front of them. Former OFS/Mesan agent Damien "Firebrand" Harahap is brought to Manticore so he can debrief the Grand Alliance on everything he knows about the Alignment: unexpectedly, Clean Killer, the treecat assigned to mind Harahap, bonds with him, ensuring the man's full turn to Manticore's side.
Using their moles on Earth, the Mesan Alignment manipulates the Mandarins (who have just learned about the events taking place in the Mobius System) into launching an attack against Beowulf, plotting an attack of their own to support it. Admiral Winston Kingsford begins to turn against his erstwhile masters after learning of the unsuccessful attacks on Hypatia and Ajay and as the Mandarins order him to plan the attack on Beowulf. His opinion on his chances, though, changes when he receives news of a new military development by his R&D people, a missile called Hasta.
Barregos hosts an unprecedent public conference to announce his intention to lead the Maya Sector into independence, while also warning the public in general about the Alignment's plots and threat. Beowulf votes overwhelmingly in favor of independence. One of Innokentiy Kolokoltsov's analysts informs him that Manticore, in spite of their claims, may be behind the multiple rebellions in the Verge, and he gives additional orders to Kingsford: he is to destroy the missile production lines in Beowulf.
Partially in response to Barregos' announcement, Manticore announces that they will support those systems in the Verge seeking peaceful independence from the League, and the Ghost Hunters discuss what these events may mean for their investigation. Anton Zilwicki learns that Victor Cachat and Thandi Palane have managed to survive, and also that a large number of nuclear bombs - secretly initiated by Albrecht Detweiler after realizing he would not be able to escape Mesa in time, dying himself in one of the explosions - have struck the planet, with the locals blaming the Manticorans, who are now unable to find proof of the Alignment's actions due to Operation Houdini.
While Albrecht's sons plot their revenge, the Mandarins take advantage of Manticore seemingly losing the moral high ground to turn the public opinion against them and to convince the League Assembly to ammend the Constitution so they can start direct taxation to fund their close-to-bankruptcy government. The Ghost Hunters' investigation almost gets screwed when one of them decides to cut to the chase and capture one of the suspects, who promptly dies because of the nanotech virus. While the rest of the group is incensed at how he put the operation at risk, this gives them much evidence, as well as clues about where they should sniff around.
Beowulf decides to host a high level conference where the Grand Alliance can decide how to deal with recent events. This coincides with the Solarian League Navy's attack on Beowulf: however, in spite of the sudden disabling of the Mycroft defensive system by an Alignment probe and the surprise deployment of the Hasta missiles, the Alliance manages to prevent the League from achieving their objectives. The celebration is, however, cut short: three powerful nuclear bombs, deliberately timed to cause as much psychological effect as possible, destroy Beowulf Alpha, Beta and Gamma, its main space stations, without giving a chance to evacuate its inhabitants - or the members of the conference.
The Grand Alliance is sent reeling by the brutality of this attack: the Beowulf Strike has reaped 43 million lives in a matter of minutes. Among them are Beowulf chairman Chyang Benton-Ramirez, First Lord of the Admiralty Hamish Alexander-Harrington, High Admiral Judah Yanakov, Admirals Thomas Caparelli and Patricia Givens, Michael Mayhew and Jacques Benton-Ramirez y Chou. The news of Hamish's death also cause the already frail Emily Alexander-Harrington to die in Honor's arms.
The surviving leaders of the Grand Alliance discuss what actions to carry out, and Honor, brokenhearted and furious over the death of so many loved ones, argues that they cannot wait anymore for the Solarian League to stand down on their own: if they want to end the war, they have to do it now, on their own terms. On Earth, the Ghost Hunters bring Admiral Kingsford into their investigation: his initially skeptical stance rapidly changes when his main analyst suddenly drops dead when the Hunters attempt to arrest him. Realizing the danger the conspiracy represents for the League, he immediately joins forces with the Hunters in order to root out all the Alignment moles in his personnel and elsewhere.
This is the moment when Honor leads the Grand Fleet straight into the Sol System with one intention: force the surrender of the Solarian League. While itching for a chance to attack those she considers responsible for her spouses' deaths, she nonetheless accepts the surrender of a small picket and Naval Station Ganymede before sending terms to Earth: they have four days to evacuate all their deep space infrastructure (save for their habitats and power plants) and scuttle all of their ships, at which point she will have everything destroyed, no matter who is still alive. While Kingsford rushes to fulfill said terms, Honor receives a surprising visitor: Hamish.
When the Solarians attacked Beowulf, the yacht he, Jacques and their bodyguards were in had been redirected to an out-of-the-way section of Beowulf Alpha, from where they intended to rejoin the conference when Beowulf Gamma was destroyed. By pure chance, they managed to find a maintenance station and put on emergency suits just before Alpha's bomb exploded, leaving them injured but alive, and surviving for a week thanks to some rapid repairs before being rescued by a Beowulf S&R ship.
After the time limit runs out, Honor activates the sequence that destroys the vast spaceborn infrastructure of the Sol System, and then delivers an ultimatum: the Mandarins are to be arrested, Frontier Security is to be dismantled, the Verge's independence restored and the Solarian League Constitution reformed to ensure a return to democratic, representative government. If they don't, the Grand Fleet will proceed to repeat the actions carried out against Earth against all Core systems by order of wealth, until the terms are accepted. When it becomes obvious that the Mandarins are still willing to keep going, Admiral Kingsford and Deputy Attorney General Rorendaal stage a coup to arrest the Mandarins, accepting the Alliance's terms.
Several months later, the Solarian League begins to reform its Constitution. The Protectorates have become independent, some shedding more blood than others in the bitter fight. The Grand Alliance forges its military, economic and political ties into more permanent structures - and Honor, in spite of being offered the post of First Space Lord, decides to retire from the military, so she can take care of her family and bring Emily's second child to term. Queen Elizabeth is not worried, though, because she knows that, when the time comes, the Navy will be once more led by Honor Harrington.
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 | Reinhard Freeman | 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 | Saartje van Heemskerck | Michelle Henke | Susan Hibson | Marianne Holmon-Sanders | Jane Isotalo | Markéta Ilkova | Jean-Louis Jackson | Miriam Jahnke | Andrea Jaruwalski | Willis Jennings | David Kalet | Adenauer Kellogg | 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 | Francis Malinowski | Benjamin Mayhew IX | Michael Mayhew | Francine Maurier | Gottfried McAnally | Seiko McAnally | Corey McAvoy | Belinda McCleskey | Leopold McCleskey | Jefferson McClure | Kent McCoury | Enwright McGill | Jessica Myhrvold | Palko Nakada | Ganesh Naran | Bethany Ning-ju | Franklin Nisyrios | Rajmund Nyhus | Natsuko Okiku | Shulamit Onassis | Charles O'Daley | 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 | Joanna Saleta | Barton Salgado | Helmut Santini | Benjamin Schalken | Jason Schlegel | Reuben Sedgewick | James Sena | Ellen Shemais | Harold Simmons-Gilchrest | Johannes Stankiewicz | Jayson Stob | Bryce Tarkovsky | Irene Teague | Thomas Theisman | Sandra Thurston | Gabriella Timberlake | Luca Tomei | Alice Truman | Imogene Tsang | Franklin Tsukatani | Adão Ukhtomskoy | 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
Agnes Celeste | GSNS Protector Oliver I | HMS Ajax | HMS Arngrim | HMS Artemis | HMS Clas Fleming | 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 Leander | PY Anachronism | SLMS Star Galleon |
Star Systems Edit
Space Stations Edit
Beowulf Alpha | Beowulf Beta | Beowulf Gamma | Cassandra Yards | Forge One | HMSS Hephaestus Alpha | Ivaldi Orbital Works No. 1 | Nano Farm Number One | Nano Farm Number Two | 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
- Renaissance Factor
air car | Alexandria Belt | Apollo | Argo III | Argo III Incident of 1898 | Atlas class | Battle of Beowulf | Battle of Hypatia | Battle of the Prime-Ajay Hyper Bridge | Battle of Sol | Beowulf Strike | Cachalot System Patrol | Cataphract | Clarence-Artesia warp bridge | Cruiser Squadron 572 | Cruiser Squadron 912 | Deneb Accords | Detweiler Plan | Eridani Edict | Family Support Command (GSN) | George Benton Center for Interstellar Studies | Gorgon Belt | Ghost Hunters | Grand Alliance | Harrington genotype | Hasta | Husky | Hypatia System Patrol | Ivaldi of Beowulf | Joint Chiefs of Staff | Kalokainos Shipping | Lester Allen Kovalenko Prize | Mesan Atrocity | Meroan Citizen Protection Force | Meroa Resistance Movement | Meroa System Patrol | Mycroft | Office of Frontier Security | Operation Buccaneer | Operation Charnay | Operation Fabius | Operation Nemesis | Operation Raging Justice | Outcasts | Parthian Shot | Prime Terminus Traffic Control Command | pulser | Select Committee | Silver Bullet | Snapper Belt | Solarian League Constitution | Spider Drive | Stickel & Lyman | Strategy and Planning (SLN) | Talbott Quadrant Guard Expeditionary Force | 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 | Wreck of the Steadholder Fitzgerald
|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|