Field of Dishonor picks up right where the last book left off. Honor has returned home to have her ship repaired after the ass-kicking she gave the Republic of Haven and is hailed a hero as open warfare between Haven and Manticore is finally declared. But despite the war now being on, that’s not really what Field of Dishonor is about. First, we have to get a few unresolved plotlines out of the way, namely the cowardly actions of Pavel Young from the last book.
Field of Dishonor opens up with Young’s sham of a trial due to the politics involved and his family influence. And here we have yet another person who decides it’s in their best interest to take Honor down a peg. Despite her growing history of quickly flipping the table on anyone who tries. Now, this is actually a nice reprieve since Honor Harrington is a space opera series. Field of Dishonor gives us a point where we see less of the “space” and more of the “opera” and that’s always nice if you’re into this type of story.
Up to this point, we’ve seen Honor get hurt physically and still pull off victories. In personal hand-to-hand combat and military ship-to-ship combat, she can clearly handle herself. Field of Dishonor instead deals with her being hurt in a deeply emotional way and having to cope with that. And not because a comrade dies in military service, but because her enemies are specifically targetting her. We already know at this point that her past has been a rough emotionally, but this is our first time seeing her deal with a fresh, new hurt.
And boy, does she deal with it. You’d think it’d be pretty clear to people at this point that Honor does not back down. She is a lioness and will fight to the bitter end to protect herself, her nation, and her people. Yes, she has a gentle soul, but she can be equally merciless when the situation calls for it. And she is smart and strong enough to figure out how to pull it off every time. But her temper also threatens to take her down a dark path. In her quest for vengeance, she starts to get tunnel vision and becomes almost obsessed with it, consequences be damned.
I can’t go into too much detail about what happens in this book without spoilers, but it is heart-wrenching. And while Honor doesn’t stop being a badass, it gives her some much-needed character development to make her more than a cut-and-paste Mary Sue. There are going to be consequences for her actions here and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the next book.