What price victory? The war with the Republic of Haven has resumed . . . disastrously for the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Admiral Lady Dame Honor Harrington, Steadholder and Duchess Harrington, the single victorious Allied commander of the opening phase of the new war, has been recalled from the Sidemore System to command Eighth Fleet. Everyone knows Eighth Fleet is the Alliance's primary offensive command, which makes it the natural assignment for the woman the media calls "the Salamander." But what most of the public DOESN'T know is that not only are the Star Kingdom and its Allies badly outnumbered by the Republic's new fleet, but that the odds are going to get steadily worse. Eighth Fleet's job is to somehow prevent those odds from crushing the Alliance before the Star Kingdom can regain its strategic balance. It's a job which won't be done cheaply. Honor Harrington must meet her formidable responsibilities with inferior forces even as she copes with tumultuous changes in her personal and public life. The alternative to victory is total defeat, yet this time the COST of victory will be agonizingly high.