The Honor Harrington series, also known as the Honorverse, is a very successful military science fiction series.
Several of the novels have made the New York Times Best Seller list since the first novel, On Basilisk Station, was published in 1992.
The main Honor Harrington series consists of 14 books and the last novel, Uncompromising Honor, was released in 2018.
The Honor Harrington series was written by American author David Weber.
As well as the main 14 Honor Harrington novels, Weber has also written a series of Worlds of Honor anthologies and many subseries.
Some other books within the Honorverse have been written by other authors or in collaboration with Weber, He has also written numerous other series and science fiction novels.
Readers have been captivated by the Honor Harrington series for over 30 years and it doesn’t seem like the series will lose its popularity anytime soon.
If you’re looking to begin reading the Honor Harrington series, you might be unsure of where to start.
After all, there are so many books to choose from in the Honorverse.
That’s why I’ve written this article focusing on the Honor Harrington book series.
I’ll go through every book in the series so that you know exactly which book to read and when.
About Honor Harrington
The main character of the Honor Harrington series is Honor Stephanie Harrington.
She is a much-decorated and venerated officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy, which is the space navy of the Star Kingdom of Manticore.
The series starts with Honor recently graduating from the Saganami Naval Academy and receiving her first command.
The series then follows Honor’s career as she moves through the ranks of the Navy.
The process isn’t always smooth for Honor, however, as she has to deal with political machinations, sexism, and personal grudges.
Despite Honor’s impressive track record in battle, her political opinions often land her in trouble and she makes several enemies among those that should be friends.
The book series is set in a very turbulent universe.
Manticore is consistently at war with other forces and the politics of the world play a major part in the world-building and plot of the books.
As the series develops, more enemies target Manticore, and Honor is tasked with defending her nation against all comers.
The book series has been frequently compared to the Horatio Hornblower books as it shares several tropes and plot points only against a backdrop of space.
The series soon began to grow past this comparison, however and added more political strife.
Honor’s gender is a big theme throughout the series as she is threatened with sexual abuse and discriminated against by some nations for being a woman.
Politics and warfare are also major themes as the reader gets to see how different leaders are able to manipulate the masses to feed the war machine.
There are also themes of friendship, love, loyalty, and deception.
Honor Harrington Books In Order
Here are all of the Honor Harrington books in order.
Honor Harrington takes command of the HMS Fearless, which has been fitted with a new weapon as part of an experiment by Admiral Hemphill.
When the Fearless is instructed to take part in a series of war games, the weapon becomes a hindrance and the ship performs badly.
With her superior unwilling to admit the failure was her fault, it falls on Honor’s head and her ship is sent to a remote station to be forgotten about.
Honor finds herself in the middle of a number of conflicts.
The system she’s stationed in is a smuggler’s paradise, the inhabitants are under the influence of violence-inducing hallucinogens, and her ship isn’t equipped correctly.
- Good start to the series that introduces the major players
- Lots of details that aren’t important slow down the plot
Set three years after On Basilisk Station, Honor is given a new assignment to lead a Manticoran squadron on a peace mission to the planet Grayson.
The mission is led by Honor’s mentor and old friend Admiral Raoul Courvosier and it’s important that an alliance is in place as Grayson is in a strategic position.
However, the government and society of Grayson are very patriarchal and they don’t take kindly to seeing a woman in uniform.
Honor is willing to leave to allow things to progress more smoothly, but when Grayson is attacked she has no choice but to stay and join the fight.
- The descriptions of Grayson and its society are done skillfully
- The detail of the naval strategy might be dry for some
The People’s Republic of Haven is on the verge of rebellion and a civil war is on the way.
The ruling classes of Haven want to distract the masses from the problems of the Republic and know that a war against an outside party is always the best way to do this.
However, the Star Kingdom of Manticore isn’t willing to let Haven get away with such an obvious tactic and Honor Harrington is especially willing to let Haven get an easy victory.
If Haven wants a war, they will need to prepare to fight one that isn’t on their terms.
- Intriguing plot and antagonists
- Slow pace as the book takes a long time to set up the conflict
Following the war with Haven, Honor returns to Manticore.
However, things aren’t progressing smoothly on Manticore either and Honor is soon embroiled in a war of a different kind.
An old rival of hers is back on the scene and wants to cause as much trouble as possible for Honor.
This time, the war Honor must fight is not only smaller but is also more personal.
Defeat could lead to her death, but victory will not leave her unscathed, either.
- Gives Honor’s character more depth
- The shift to Honor’s life and politics may not be for every reader
After the events of Field of Dishonor, Honor retired from active military service and has become isolated from her friends.
She heads to Grayson to take up a new position and to begin to heal from the events that led her there.
However, the People’s Republic of Haven is gearing up to attack Grayson once more and the planet’s Navy desperately needs someone with her combat experience.
She accepts, but not without reservations and these are proven to be true when the attacks begin on her personally.
- Multiple plot points and threads come together
- Too much filler material and not enough action
Honor is given the chance to rejoin the Royal Manticoran Navy, but her path back isn’t straightforward.
Before she can start her career again, she has to assume the command of a group of ragtag merchantmen and stop some pirates that have emerged following the Havenite War.
However, Honor discovers that the pirates aren’t all that they first seemed. Unfortunately, some of her friends and comrades aren’t either.
- Opens up the universe to more characters and places
- A transition book that sets up future installments
Honor is only following orders when she runs straight into an ambush.
Her options are limited and all she can do is either fight an impossible battle or surrender herself and her crew.
Losing means death, but the People’s Navy has honor and treats its prisoners well, so Honor decides to surrender.
Unfortunately, the Navy is no longer in control of her surrender and the political authorities take over.
Honor is sent to a planet named Hell in advance of her scheduled execution. Honor’s life in prison isn’t easy, but some people have it even worse.
- Discovering how Honor survives the various situations she is caught in is fun
- The pacing of the book is inconsistent
The execution of Honor Harrington was broadcast on the news and this leaves the Manticoran Alliance both shocked and angered.
The Alliance resolves to avenge Honor but does it have the firepower and manpower it needs while it is fighting on several other fronts?
However, Honor’s execution was not real. She’s still on Hell and is trying to escape alongside her crew.
Nobody has escaped from Hell before but can Honor manage it?
- Well-written military space opera
- Some plot lines and characters aren’t as interesting as others
Honor has returned with her crew to the Manticoran Alliance, an event that is a little embarrassing to the people who declared she was dead.
However, Honor’s return gives a morale boost to the Navy at a critical time in the ongoing war.
Both sides of the war think it is theirs to win and Honor finds herself in the middle of all of the drama.
Given the new nickname of “the Salamander” by the newsies, Honor must find a way to survive the circumstances she is wrapped up in.
- Intelligently written with much to say about the politics of the world
- Too much exposition and inner monologues
Five years after an informal truce was agreed between Manticore and Haven, several circumstances in each notation have them on the brink of war again.
Matters are complicated when various allies of each nation face their own issues which risks adding to the already brewing powder keg.
When Honor voices her opposition to some new policies being suggested on Manticore, she is sent to the planet of Sidemore in the hope of keeping her voice quiet.
It is her task to keep an eye on the rising tensions between the different factions.
- The writer does a great job of balancing the different plot lines
- Politics take center stage instead of either the military strategy or action
The war between Manticore and Haven has begun anew and Honor is recalled to the Manticore Navy to command the Eighth Fleet.
The Eighth Fleet is well known for being the primary offensive fleet so it is a natural position for Honor.
However, even the Eighth Fleet will struggle when the numbers are drastically against them.
Somehow, Honor has to find a way to turn the war in Manticore’s favor before the odds become too much and they are left with no way out.
- The battles in the latter half of the book are thrilling
- The first half of the book is slow-paced and difficult to get through
The Havenite Wars continue, but now there is a new player in town as well.
The Solarian League has its own reasons for fighting Manticore and the already high death toll could become even more catastrophic.
Honor can see the potential danger ahead and will do anything to prevent it from becoming real.
However, Honor may see the Solarian League coming, but that doesn’t mean she can see everything that is happening.
- Includes some resolutions to previous arcs while building some new stories
- The plot and writing are at times unfocused
Manticore is being attacked from several fronts.
The system has been subject to a brutal attack committed by a new and fearsome enemy but the Solarian League is also still in the fight.
Honor needs to defend Manticore from future devastating attacks, but her main course of prevention will further anger the Solarian League.
Can Honor defend Manticore from two determined enemies?
- Detailed world-building helps the reader understand the enemies
- Much of the writing appears to be more filler than necessary
This is the final book in the main Honor Harrington series and brings the story of Honor to a close.
The Solarian League has decided that Manticore must be destroyed and its Honor’s task to stop them.
Will this final book see Honor be ultimately successful or fail?
- A fitting conclusion to the series
- Too much talking politics and too little action for a concluding novel
In this article, I took a closer look at the Honor Harrington series of books by David Weber.
It’s a series of 14 military sci-fi books featuring Honor Harrington as the main character.
Honor is a military leader with the Royal Manticoran Navy and faces many trials throughout the series.
Manticore is constantly at war and Honor is called upon to defend her nation against its enemies.
The Honor Harrington series has been called a sci-fi space opera and this description is very apt.
As well as the political and military plots, the novels also deal with issues more personal for Honor.
She enjoys romances and suffers betrayals and her most difficult battles are often those that target her personally instead of her nation.
If you love science fiction, military novels, and political thrillers, then the Honor Harrington series is for you.
This series is also part of the wider Honorverse which includes several anthologies and subseries.
I would recommend that any new readers to the Honorverse start by working through the Honor Harrington novels before branching out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer a few commonly asked questions about the Honor Harrington series
Do the Honor Harrington Books Need To Be Read In Order?
Yes, the main series of Honor Harrington books do need to be read in order. Although you can look at different sections of the series as separate from others, they all build on the stories that have gone before.
Are There Any Additional Books?
As well as the 14 books in the main series, there are several spinoff novels as well. There are the World of Honor anthologies and the Crown of Slaves series.