The book is something of a slow starter, and if you're expecting lots of military SF type action you'd probably argue that it never really picks up either. But, it didn't seem to be a problem. [a:David Weber|10517|David Weber|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1227584346p2/10517.jpg] seems to be making a play to move out of this series being exclusively military SF and into more of a 'thriller' type novel. He doesn't quite manage it – you don't ever doubt who the bad guy is; or that Honor will get her man – it's not trying to be a 'whodunit' either. In fact, it feels very much like a bridging novel, taking us from the immediate finish of [b:The Short Victorious War|77736|The Short Victorious War (Honor Harrington, #3)|David Weber|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1321561719s/77736.jpg|1913024]
into the subsequent court martial of Lord Young (for his abject cowardice in that novel's major battle). While the time of this trial fills pretty much the first half of the novel; it's not a procedural novel either – we treated to some of the details of Honor's evidence, some of the deliberations of the jury, but we see very little of the case and even less of the actual trial.
The second half of the novel is given over to a number of duels. This is probably the most interesting half of the novel, as Honor and her merry gang of chums have to work out why the duel started and who is, potentially, financing it, and why. It's not the most taxing of puzzles and you'll probably be there long before Honor. It's probably not much of a spoiler (at least once you're reading the novel) to say that Honor features in at least one of the duels, and yes, of course she wins. The duels felt a little sudden. I didn't recall them ever having been mentioned as a part of Manticorian society before, or did Weber just introduce them as a way to clean house of a few characters ready for the next phase in Honor's life, presumably in exile on Grayson?
But, flaws (and there are a few), and obvious attempts to create a bridge novel aside, it was fun. I enjoyed reading it; I enjoyed the continued world-building; and it made me want to read the next novel, [b:Flag in Exile|77738|Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington, #5)|David Weber|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1321561696s/77738.jpg|4360]
, to find out what Honor's life on Grayson was going to be like. And if that isn't a successful bridge-novel, I don't know what is.