Hounded by political enemies and cut to the heart by the death of the man she loved, Honor Harrington has retreated to the planet Grayson to take up her role as Steadholder while she tries to heal her bitter wounds. But the People's Republic of Haven is rising from defeat to threaten Grayson anew, and the newborn Grayson Navy needs her. Yet even as she accepts the duty, powerful men who fear the changes she brings to their world are determined to reverse them. They have a plan - and for it to succeed, Honor Harrington must die. Two irresistible forces are rushing together to crush Grayson between them, and only one woman - uncertain of her capabilities, weary unto death, and marked for murder - stands between her adopted planet and its devastation.