The People's Republic of Haven made a tiny mistake when it announced the execution of Honor Harrington. It seemed safe enough. After all, she was already dead. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Now Honor has escaped from the prison planet called Hell and returned to the Manticoran Alliance with a few friends. Almost half a million of them, to be precise including some who know what really happened when the Committee of Public Safety seized power in the PRH. Honor's return from the dead comes at a critical time, providing a huge, much-needed lift for the Allies' morale, for the war is rapidly entering a decisive phase. Both sides believe that victory lies within their grasp at last, but dangers no one could foresee await them both. New weapons, new strategies, new tactics, spies, diplomacy, and assassination all are coming into deadly focus, and Honor Harrington, the woman the newsies call "the Salamander," once more finds herself at the heart of them all. But this time, the furnace may be too furious for even a salamander to survive.