Timeframe: March – August 1922 PD
- Peril and strife strike on a double front for Honor Harrington and company. After a brutal attack on the Manticoran home system, Honor Harrington and the Star Kingdom she serves battle back against a new, technologically powerful, and utterly nefarious enemy. And as if that weren't task enough, Honor must also face down a centuries-old old nemesis in the crumbling, but still mighty, Solarian League.
- The war between the People's Republic of Haven and the Star Kingdom is finally won and peace established, but grave danger looms–for there is a plan well on its way to completion designed to enslave the entire human species. Behind that plan lies the shadowy organization known as the Mesan Alignment.
- Task number one for Honor is to defend against another devastating Mesan strike–a strike that may well spell the doom of the Star Kingdom in one fell blow. It is time to shut down and secure the wormhole network that is the source of the Star Kingdom's wealth and power–but also its greatest vulnerability. Yet this is an act that the ancient and corrupt Earth-based Solarian League inevitably will take as a declaration of war.
- The thunder of battle rolls as the Solarian League directs its massive power against the Star Kingdom. And once again, Honor Harrington is thrust into a desperate battle that she must win if she is to survive to take the fight to the real enemy of galactic freedom–the insidious puppetmasters of war who lurk behind the Mesan Alignment!
In March 1922 PD, tensions between the Star Empire of Manticore and the Solarian League begin to escalate. Manticore begins to enact Case Lacoön, whereby it pulls all its merchant ships from Solarian space and closes off several wormhole bridges and junctions to Solarian traffic. As the effects of Manticore's actions begin to reverberate throughout the League, Permanent Senior Undersecretary Innokentiy Kolokoltsov and his four fellow senior bureaucrats, who effectively control the League, start feeling the pressure from the transstellar corporations and growing media criticism. The five "Mandarins" support Admiral Rajampet Rajani's planned invasion of the Manticore System itself. They also decide to send an additional one hundred superdreadnoughts through the Beowulf Terminus in support of Fleet Admiral Massimo Filareta's main force, which is headed there through hyperspace. However, the Beowulfan government refuses to comply with the League's initial "request", stating its rights under the League Constitution.
In the meantime, Captain Anton Zilwicki and Agent Victor Cachat arrive in the Haven System and present their evidence of Mesan involvement in the assassinations that triggered the resumption of hostilities between Haven and Manticore to President Eloise Pritchart. A Mesan defector, Dr. Herlander Simões, offers information on the new nanotechnology used to turn people into unwitting assassins. Pritchard then sets out for an unexpected state visit to Manticore and presents this evidence to Elizabeth III, who is finally convinced that Haven is no longer the enemy and agrees not only to negotiate a peace treaty, but to accept Pritchart's offer of a military alliance against the upcoming League attack.
Hearing about this visit and the intelligence Zilwicki and Cachat brought with them, the Beowulf government arrives to join the new "Grand Alliance". Shortly afterwards, Protector Benjamin IX arrives from Grayson to participate in the peace talks and to represent the other members of the Manticoran Alliance. Even more unexpectedly, Honor Harrington is approached by a treecat memory singer called Sorrow Singer, who is the only surviving member of the Black Rock Clan, which was wiped out by the Mesan Alignment's Operation Oyster Bay. The alien offers the humans her species' assistance in guarding against the new assassination technology that was used by Mesa and to help them in their security (treecats, being empathic, can sense malign intentions). After the signing of the peace treaty, the leaders of the Grand Alliance begin planning for the expected arrival of Admiral Filareta's Eleventh Fleet, and decide that simply deterring his forces would not be enough in the long term, as the "Mandarins" would find some way to spin the affair in their favor. Hamish Alexander makes the point that they need to create a situation that is an "unambiguous, undeniable, decisive defeat" for the Solarian League Navy, while Honor adds that the Sollies must be made to understand that a confrontation with Manticore is war and "that wars have consequences".
Admiral Filareta finally arrives at Manticore with his massive fleet of 427 superdreadnoughts, and proceeds upon a course to Sphinx, Honor's homeworld, in a maneuver intended to give him sufficient time to assess the odds and pull out back into hyper if necessary. The Grand Fleet, under Fleet Admiral Harrington's command, executes a plan of misdirection, making Filareta believe that Manticore made the mistake of splitting its forces to defend both Manticore and Sphinx. As the two sides approach one another, Manticoran LACs take out Filareta's advance recon platforms. At the Wormhole Junction, a Solarian journalist dispatch boat is allowed transit, despite the fact that Manticore knows it is really under the control of the Solarian Navy and meant to signal the Solly forces in the Sigma Draconis System that Filareta has arrived. Honor then contacts Filareta and attempts to dissuade him from continuing on his mission. The SLN admiral refuses to back down despite Harrington's repeated warnings not to cross the system's hyper-limit, and demands that she stand down her ships and surrender. The Solarian fleet crosses the hyper limit, and Honor springs her trap: additional Manticoran forces appear on Filareta's plot as they come out of stealth, making Harrington's forces climb from forty to two hundred superdreadnoughts and moments later the Havenite force drops out of hyperspace behind 11th Fleet with 250 additional superdreadnoughts and LAC carriers. Harrington then contacts Filareta again, this time using faster-than-light communication, thus rubbing in Manticore's technological superiority. Thomas Theisman, Haven's secretary of war, appears beside her on her flag bridge; they reveal the presence of a quarter-million missile pods. Filareta realizes that his position is hopeless and orders surrender, but to his shock, his operations officer suddenly launches all the 51,000 missiles from their pods and then enters a code that detonates a bomb, placed there by Mesa for this case, killing Filareta and his entire flag bridge crew. Harrington promptly opens fire in response to the attack.
In the Sigma Draconis System, Fleet Admiral Imogene Tsang's task force receives the activation order from the dispatch boat, and proceeds towards the terminus, only to be confronted with the Beowulf System-Defense Force; Vice Admiral Marianne Holmon-Sanders refuses to permit Tsang to transit through the terminus and tells her that any attempt to seize control of it will be met with deadly force. When Tsang refuses to back down, RMN Vice Admiral Alice Truman reveals her presence and sixty Manticoran superdreadnoughts come out of stealth, eliminating Tsang's 3-to-1 advantage over the BSDF. After a heated exchange between Truman and Tsang, in which Truman drives home her contempt for the SLN, Tsang backs off and leaves the system.
The total losses for the SLN in the Second Battle of Manticore are staggering: 296 SLN superdreadnoughts destroyed outright or damaged irreparably, 71 ships damaged and over 1.2 million dead Solarian personnel. Manticore's own losses are marginal with the loss of mostly LACs and "only" 2,000 dead. Honor blames herself for all losses of the battle, believing she pushed Filareta too far. However, Admiral Alfredo Yu points out that Filareta's missile launch was too uncoordinated, and concludes correctly that this was another example of Mesa's nanotech, since a coordinated launch would require far more complex orders than for someone to simply punch one button.
Upon Admiral Tsang's return to the Sol System and the news of the Eleventh Fleet's destruction, the "Mandarins" find themselves forced to contend with the consequences of the debacle. Their failures are likely to bring about the collapse of the League, as the media and citizens are taking a closer look at the constitution and start to question the bureaucracies' ability to make the gigantic nation work. They state that Honor Harrington fired after Admiral Filareta had surrendered, and also accuse Beowulf of treason, banking upon the public's unwillingness to believe that the League could be defeated so handily by a "neobarb" star nation. Their efforts are somewhat successful and the Manticoran embassy and the Beowulf Assembly Delegation Office are besieged by angry mobs who protest their actions.
Admiral Rajampet does not intend to become the Mandarins' scapegoat and prepares to release damaging information on all of them should they try to lay the blame of this failure upon him. But before his meeting with them, he suddenly commits suicide, yet another victim of Mesan nanotech. Captain Daud al-Fanudahi of the SLN Battle Fleet summons Captain Irene Teague of Frontier Fleet, Marine Major Bryce Tarkovsky and Lieutenant Colonel Natsuko Okiku of the Solarian Gendarmerie to a clandestine meeting about the recent events. He relays his suspicions that the Manticorans are right in their claims that the League is being manipulated by someone from the outside intent upon its destruction. He manages to convince Colonel Okiku, a criminal investigator, to start looking into such outside influence.
Admiral Rajampet's successor, Admiral Winston Kingsford, is summoned to Kolokoltsov's office to brief him on the League's military options regarding Manticore, and promptly informs Kolokoltsov of the unpalatable truth that Manticore's military advantage over the League is so overwhelming that any further confrontations between them would be one-sided massacres. According an analysis by Captain Caswell Gweon of the Office of Naval Intelligence, the League economy, which has already taken a severe blow due to Manticore's recent actions, is likely to be slow to recover, and the total economy of the Grand Alliance is likely to match the League's within a decade or so. Ultimately, Kingsford presents Kolokoltsov with their only options: fighting a commerce-raiding war until they can match Manticore's military capability, or sue for terms.
Kolokoltsov convinces the other Mandarins that their best chance is to adopt Kingsford's recommendations, score some victories on the Manties and only then attempt a negotiated settlement that would not be detrimental to the League's internal stability. They also maneuver to have the Beowulfan government investigated for treason as a motion to that effect is carried within the League Assembly with over three-quarters majority. The maneuver backfires badly however, when the Beowulf delegation declares that they would hold a system-wide plebiscite on the question of seceding from the League. As Beowulf prepares for the plebiscite vote, Manticore is prevented from stationing warships in Beowulf to avoid any appearance of coercion. The Mandarins, still trying to hold the federal system together, see Beowulf's impending secession as a serious threat, not only to the League's cohesion but to its security as well and begin planning towards addressing that threat.
According to an early author's post on davidweber.net, A Rising Thunder would "tie several of the plot strands together".
As with the previous books, the first part of A Rising Thunder overlaps with the last part of the previous issue (Mission of Honor in this case).
Malachai Abruzzi | Frazier Adamson | Justin Adenauer | William Alexander | Daud al-Fanudahi | Jephthah Alverson | Chien-lu Anderman | Gustav Anderman XI | Huang Anderman | Adelina Arif | Fergus Arredondo | Andrew Artlett | Joshua Atkins | Oravil Barregos | Jennifer Bellefeuille | Anthony Benton Ramirez y Chou | Chyang Benton-Ramirez | Luke Blackett | Bourchier | Harper Brantley | Mercedes Brigham | Hamilton Brinton-Massengale | Brian Brockhurst | John Burrows | Victor Cachat | Rafael Cardones | Lyman Carmichael | Gabriel Caddell-Markham | Joanna Caddell-Markham | Thomas Caparelli | Jeremy Chalker | Allison Chou Harrington | Jacques Chou | Clear Song | Vincent Clinkscales | Dahmer | William Daniels | Molly DeLaney | Christopher Dombroski | Echo of Time | Anita Eisenberg | Fang Chin-wen | Hirokichi Floyd | Massimo Filareta | Shannon Foraker | Lewis Forstchen | Jack Frazier | Arnold Giancola | Steven Gilmore | Frank Gillich | Patricia Givens | Gook Yang Kee | Stephania Grimm | Caswell Gweon | Alfred Harrington | Honor Harrington | Felicia Hadley | Arethea Hart | Haverty | Spencer Hawke | Michelle Henke | Sampson Hermier | Hershberger | Marianne Holmon-Sanders | Hoover | Hwo Rung-wan | Hiram Ivanov | Andrea Jaruwalski | Willis Jennings | Winston Kingsford | Innokentiy Kolokoltsov | Selena Kupperman | Brynach Lacharn | Pascaline L'anglais | Anthony Langtry | Denis LePic | Shania Lewis | Victor Lewis | Jukka Longacre | Adrian Luff | Lurks in Branches | Nathan MacArtney | Corey McAvoy | Uriah Madison | Vitorino Magalhães | Sean Magellan | Kiefer Mallory | Freida Malachai | Sherwood Marceau | Estelle Marker | Isaiah Matlock | Matsuo | June Mattes | Michael Mayhew | Jack McBryde | Clifford McGraw | Fedosei Mikulin | Justyná Miternowski-Zhyang | Jasmine Neng | Nimitz | Audrey O'Hanrahan | Natsuko Okiku | Meindert Osterhaut | Pang Yau-pau | Thandi Palane | Cyrus Pálffi | Erzébet Pelletier | Lindsey Phillips | Joshua Pinder-Swun | Hiacyntá Pocock | Martinos Polydorou | Austell Pouchard | Cindy Powell | Eloise Pritchart | Liam Pyun | Omosupe Quartermain | Franz Quill | Rajampet Rajani | Cordelia Ransom | Aurélie Reicher | Tyrone Reid | Jordan Rivera | Sanelma Robillard | Kjell Routhier | Luis Rozsak | Rivka Rosenfeld | Myra Sadowski | Colleen Salvatore | Samantha | Shiang Schenk | Sharon Selkirk | Sharp Claw | Ellen Shemais | Songkeeper | Song Shadow | Songstress | Springs From Above | Herlander Simões | Marjorie Simpson | Sorrow Singer | Ulysses Sobolowski | Abraham Spencer | Josette Steinberg | Ronald Stroheim | Jacqueline Summergate | Timothy Sung | Taketomo Kunimichi | Pierre Takeuchi | Arthur Talmadge | Sarah Tanner | Charlotte Tannerbaum | Bryce Tarkovsky | Irene Teague | Robert Telmachi | Jeremiah Tennard | Thomas Theisman | Terry | Thiessen | Aaron Tilborch | Wilhelm Trajan | Linda Trenis | Hamilton Trudeau | Alice Truman | Imogene Tsang | Ephram Turner | Waldemar Tümmel | Loretta Twain | Jannetje van Calcar | Yvonne Uruguay | Kevin Usher | Lev Wallenstein | Astrid Wang | Bruce Wijenberg | David Wilson | Wind of Memory | Winter Voice | Elizabeth III Winton | Roger Winton | Jared Wu | Jacob Wundt | Vincent Würtz | Anastasia Yanakov | Judah Yanakov | Yeou Kun Sang | Alfredo Yu | Guernicho Yung-Thomas | Zell | Anton Zilwicki | Nereu Zyndram
Royal Manticoran Navy
HMS Bandolier | HMS Bristol Q. Yakolev | HMS Cantata | HMS Cometary | HMS Cheetah | HMS Malcolm Taylor | HMS Midas | HMS Onyx | HMS Othello | HMS Otter | HMS Ozymandias | HMS Selkie | HMS Smilodon | HMS Sloan Tompkins | HMS Tiger Cub | HMS Timberlake | HMS Tornado | HMS Wolf
Solarian League Navy
Republic of Haven Navy
Zunker Space Navy
Agueda | Congo | Cyclops | Darius | Dionigi | Galen | Hainuwele | Heimdall | Idaho | Josephine | Katharina | Kenichi | Klondike | Limbo | Manticore | Mendelschon | Nolan | Olivia | Roulette | Seacrest | Shingaine | Sol | Stine | Strathmore | Syou-tang | Tasmania | Terra Haute | Trombone | Zunker
- Andermani Empire
- Republic of Erewhon
- Protectorate of Grayson
- Republic of Haven
- Star Kingdom and Star Empire of Manticore
- Mesan Alignment
- Solarian League
Task Force 11.6 | Operation Arbela | Battle Fleet | Battle of Manticore | Battle of Torch | Beowulf System-Defense Force | Biological Survey Corps | Cruiser Squadron 31 | Eleventh Fleet | First Fleet | Frontier Fleet | Grand Fleet | Grayson Space Navy | Indefatigable class | Limbo Space Navy | Nevada class | Protector's Own | Operation Raging Justice | Roland class | Republic of Haven Navy | Royal Manticoran Navy | Second Battle of Manticore | Solarian League Navy | Solarian-Manticoran War | Zunker Space Navy
Agueda-Stine Hyper Bridge | Dionigi-Katharina Hyper Bridge | Erewhon Wormhole Junction | Hennesy Terminus | Idaho Hyper Bridge | Lynx Terminus | Manticore Wormhole Junction | Nolan-Katharina Hyper Bridge | Nolan Terminus | Roulette-Limbo Hyper Bridge | Stine Terminus | Syou-tang-Olivia Hyper Bridge | Terra Haute Terminus | Verge | Yamato's Nebula
- Comment on the title on DavidWeber.net (2nd September 2010 entry)
- A Rising Thunder at simonandschuster.com
|Book Companions||Ad Astra Companions|
|HOS||House of Steel Companion||SOTF||Ships of the Fleet Calendars|
|HOSH||House of Shadows Companion||SITS||Saganami Island Tactical Simulator|
|HOL||House of Lies Companion|
|Jayne's Intelligence Review||Jayne's Fighting Ships of the Galaxy|
|JIR1||The Royal Manticoran Navy||SB1||Ship Book 1: The Havenite Sector|
|JIR2||The Havenite Republican Navy||SB2||Ship Book 2: The Silesian Confederacy|
|JIR3||The Silesian Confederate Navy||SB3||Ship Book 3: The Short Victorious War|