The families who rule the People's Republic of Haven are in trouble. The treasury's empty, the Proles are restless, and civil war is imminent. But the ruling class knows what they need to keep in power: another short, victorious war to unite the people and fill the treasury once more. It's a card they've played often in the last half-century, always successfully, and all that stands in their way is the Star Kingdom of Manticore and its threadbare allies. Enemies who in the past have always backed down. Only this time the Peeps face something different. This time they're up against Captain Honor Harrington and a Royal Manticoran Navy that's prepared to give them a war that's far from short...and anything but victorious.