Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington #5)

Flag in Exile Book Cover Flag in Exile
Honor Harrington
David Weber
September 27, 1995

Hounded into retirement and disgrace by political enemies, cut to the heart by the murder of the man she loved, and bereft of confidence in herself and her abilities, Captain 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 experience desperately. It's a call Honor cannot refuse, yet even as she once more accepts the duty whose challenges she fears she can no longer meet, powerful men who hate and fear the changes she's brought 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.


Flag in Exile follows up Field of Dishonor with Honor returning to Grayson after her duel with Pavel Young. Now while we still get to see Honor doing her thing commanding ships, this book is interesting because it also puts her in a government role. We’ve pretty clearly established at this point that she knows how to lead from a military position. But now instead of sending ships into battle, she’s leading reforms on an underdeveloped planet. A planet that’s in the middle of political and cultural upheaval thanks to her own actions back in book 2.

Now, the last book showed us that Honor is damaged. She’s been through a lot both throughout the series and beforehand. Paul Tankersley’s death pushed her barely controlled temper over the edge in the last book and we saw how much that anger fueled the fires of her vengeance. But…the vengeance is done. She’s had revenge and now she has to keep living. And with everything she’s been through, there’s a lot of survivor’s guilt going on here. Throwing herself into a constructive project is downright therapeutic for her at this point. Until, of course, something goes wrong.

Anyone who picks up a real-world history book can tell you that when a society goes through a big change, there are always people who do everything in their power to prevent it. Usually, these are the people for who the new change is bad. Your career is copying manuscripts by hand? Destroy those newfangled printing presses! Burn them! Same thing applies to cultural changes. You’d think those people who are in positions of power want to share that power? They didn’t get there through years of walking over other people hard work to make other people’s lives better. What are you, nuts?

But when evolution is suppressed, it makes way for revolution. And it helps that Honor is something of a Mary Sue. Seriously, look at the body count this woman has left in her wake. Look at the reason she’s hanging out on your planet right now! Why do you think messing with someone like that is a good call?

Anyway, another solid entry in the Honor Harrington franchise. Space opera at its finest but with a different focus to stop the series from getting stale. Looking forward to seeing where Honor’s adventures take her next.

May 9, 2021

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