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on 4 July 2001
After going into exile after a little contretemps with Lord Young at the end of the last book, Honor takes up her duties as a Steadholder on Grayson. As Grayson's most experienced officer, she is made a Graysonian Admiral and some unexpected old acquaintances are appointed as her deputies.
But the traditionalists on Grayson, never happy with her appointment in the first place, are plotting to bring down Honor in any way they can - no matter what the cost. When they can't remove her legally, they execute a terrorist outrage to destroy her politically.
Meanwhile, the easy victories in the war with the Havenites have come to an end as the Red Terror (it's not actually referred to as that, but that's clearly what it's based on) cuts a swathe through the Havenite ranks, leaving the rest knowing the high cost of failiure. They've even started making offensive plans of their own - including a plan to bring about a revolt in Massada (Grayson's bitterest enemy) to divert the Manties Navy away from the front.
Of course, Honor overcomes all her enemies. In a frenetic last hundred pages, she faces an attempted assassination, a duel and a naval engagement. This is a great improvement on the previous volume (Fields of Dishonor) as it's much faster paced and, despite there being a significant amount of political fighting and some economic discussion, it's packed with fights of one kind or another.
PS. I also found the afterword rather poignant - this book was written at the time of the Oklahoma bombing and the author expresses his condemnation of those who claim that "the ends justifies the means." As it happens, I was rading it in the week when they finally executed Timothy McVeigh.
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"Flag in Exile" is the fifth book in a wonderful space opera series set some two thousand years in the future and featuring David Weber's best fictional heroine, "Honor Harrington."

These books are best read in sequence and I strongly recommend that you start with "On Basilisk Station (Honorverse)" which is the first one.

The Honor Harrington stories are replete with parallels to the time of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In particular, the Royal Manticoran Navy in which the heroine is a captain is clearly based on the Royal Navy at the time of Nelson. (In this book she finds herself seconded to serve as an admiral in the navy of Manticore's ally, Grayson.)

The technology of space travel and naval warfare in the Honor Harrington stories has been written so as to impose tactical and strategic constraints on space navy officers similar to those which the technology of fighting sail imposed on wet navy officers two hundred years ago. Similarly the galactic situation in the first thirteen novels contains many similarities to the strategic and political situation in European history in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

This seems to be quite deliberate: many thinly veiled (and amusing) hints in the books indicate that they are to some extent a tribute to C.S. Forester, while the main heroine of the books, Honor Harrington, appears to owe more than just her initials to C.S. Forester's character "Horatio Hornblower" though the author has stated that she is also inspired by Nelson.

In the earlier book, "The Short Victorious War", Honor's home nation of Manticore, and their allies, were attacked by the People's Republic of Haven or "Peeps" - an agressive superpower which has been gradually conquering the small nations on its borders in bitesize chunks.

Following a coup in the People's Republic after their first round of attacks were not successful, Haven is now run by a "Committee of Public Safety" headed by one Rob S. Pierre, which has imposed a reign of terror. However, the new Peep government is just as committed to the war as the old one was.

Weber clearly means the reader to understand that Haven represents Revolutionary France. Early in this book, the Grayson High Admiral prsents a report to his head of state which concludes that "this is going to be a long, long war unless one side or the other completely screws up" and "this war isn't about territory any more. It's become a war for survival; someone - either the Kingdom of Manticore and its' allies, including us, or the People's Republic of Haven - is going down this time, Your Grace. For good."

At the start of this book, Honor Harrington has been relieved of command of HMS Nike and put on half-pay after the fighting two controversial duels. So she has returned to Grayson where she is now a "steadholder" e.g. one of the most powerful people on the planet.

Up to this point in the series, Weber has appeared to show disdain and even contempt for politicians, but now that his heroine has become one, she has to think through the decisions she takes from that very different perspective. From this book onwards in the series, the way that political needs affect military objectives begins to be considered in a far more realistic and less oversimplified way.

However, Grayson doesn't just need Honor as a political leader: they desperately need her naval experience, so they ask her to take command of a squadron of superdreadnaughts.

More traditionalist elements on Grayson are horrified at the idea of a female steadholder, so Honor has to deal with some very nasty tactics, including a horrible act of terorism. Honor has to defend against enemies both within and without.

There is an author's note in my copy (September 1995) explaining that the original manuscript was completed in October 1994. Between the time it was finished and the novel's publication came the Oklahoma bombing, an act Weber describes as "even more despicable than my fictional villains." He adds "That we cannot allow those actus to go unpunished or extend to those who commit them any shred of respect, whatever the "cause" which motivated them, is a lesson the civilised human community must teach itself."

At the time of writing there are sixteen full length novels and four short story collections in the "Honorverse" as the fictional galaxy in which these stories are set is sometimes known. The main series which tells the story of Honor Harrington herself currently runs to twelve novels; in order these are

On Basilisk Station
The Honor of the Queen
The Short Victorious War
Field of Dishonour
Flag in Exile
Honor among Enemies
In Enemy Hands
Echoes of Honor
Ashes of Victory
War of Honor
At All Costs
Mission of Honor

The five collections of short stories set in the same universe, not all of which feature Honor Harrington herself, are

More Than Honor
Worlds of Honor
Worlds of Honor III: Changer of Worlds
Worlds of Honor IV: The Service of the Sword
Worlds Of Honor V: In Fire Forged

There are four spin-off novels in two groups of two. "Crown of Slaves" (co-written with Eric Flint) and the sequel "Torch of Freedom" are stories of espionage and intrigue featuring a number of characters first introduced in earlier Honor Harrington novels or "Honorverse" short story collections.

"The Shadow of Saganami" is a kind of "next generation" novel featuring a number of younger officers in the navies of Manticore and her ally Grayson, set in an area called the Talbott Quadrant, and the sequel "Storm from the Shadows" describes the further events in that part of the galaxy.

For amusement, if you want to try to look for the parallels in the first thirteen books to nations and individuals from the French revolutionary period and the Hornblower books, one possible translation would be:

People's Republic of Haven = France
Star Kingdom of Manticore = Great Britain
Gryphon = Scotland
Grayson = Portugal

Prime Minister Alan Summervale = Pitt the Younger
Hamish Alexander, later Earl White Haven = Admiral Edward Pellew
Honor Harrington = Horatio Hornblower
Alistair McKeon = William Bush

Crown loyalists and Centrists = Tory supporters of Pitt
Conservative Association = isolationist/hardline High Tories
New Kiev Liberals = Whig Oligarchists
Progressives and traditional liberals = Whig radicals

Legislaturist former rulers of Haven = Bourbon monarchy and French nobles
Rob S. Pierre = Robespierre
Committee of Public Safety = Committee of Public Safety

Anderman Empire = Kingdom of Prussia
Silesia = Poland
Solarian republic = United States of America

Wall of Battle = Line of Battle
Ship of the Wall = Ship of the Line
Battleship = "4th rate" sailing warship (in each case too small to form part of the main force in a fleet action, but powerful enough to defeat anything else smaller than a ship of the line/wall.)
Battlecruiser = frigate (5th rate)
Cruisers and destroyers = 6th rate and smaller warships

Battle of Manticore = Battle of Trafalgar

After this battle the Napoleonic era parallels don't really apply.
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on 1 November 1997
Good story with great action. The similarity to unfortunate recent events is chilling. If we don't learn tolerance, stories like this will continue to strike too close to home. My favorite line: "Do you want him crippled or dead? " Wow!
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on 2 April 2016
Forced into voluntary exile following the events of the previous novel, Honor focuses on her steadholding on Grayson, but even here she has enemies working against her, with tragic consequences. Honor is also recalled to the colours (albeit in the small Grayson Navy) and once again excels as an admiral. This is a fast paced novel with lots going on and it is a fine read.
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on 31 August 2014
Flag in Exile is part of a great series. In this one Honor changes direction whilst retaing many of the things that endear readers to her. The book is a fast writen exciting read from beginning to end. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
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on 2 February 2004
Due to her duels in "Field of Dishonor", Honor is asked to leave Manticore. She goes to Grayson and develops the Harrington Stead. Not all in Grayson see her as desireable, in fact she is called Satan's harlot by a fanatic group. Wheels are set in motion to destroy Honor. But the government of Grayson want to use Honor to develop their own navy and she is asked to be an admiral in their navy. She agrees. With her everpresent guards Honor deals with her roles as all-powerful steadholder and admiral. As she slowly overcomes the death of Paul Tankersley, Honor is dealt yet another blow. Her dome project is sabotaged and children are killed. This proves almost too much for Honor, but only almost. Her foes are challenged and Honor reigns supreme.
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on 5 September 2014
Yet another and even more dramatic sequel to the on going saga! Quite exhausting drama extremely well laid out and sensitively described - when I've recovered, on to the next volume!
Harast
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on 19 February 2014
I've really enjoyed all of these so far and highly recommend them!

Honor is an inspiring leader.

I find some of the politics annoying but then that's kind of the point.
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on 29 May 2016
I really struggled to stay with this story. Bits of it are crisp and decisive and well written. Other bits just waffle on about the same stuff endlessly.
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on 4 December 2014
I have read this series from the start they are all first class,
and will make to read the rest,
hope D.W.retains this standard,
francis
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