Lord Pavel Young escapes the well-deserved death penalty in his court martial, due to political manoeuverings, but is drummed out of the service. His father dies, making him Earl of North Hollow.
To let her escape media pressure after the court martial, Manticore sends Honor to Grayson, where she takes up her duties as Steadholder. She uses her prize money to start up 'Sky Domes Corporation', building environmental domes on Grayson.
Meanwhile, back on Manticore, Young plots his revenge. He hires Denver Summervale, a professional duelist, to kill Honor's lover Paul Tankersley. His aim is first to hurt Honor, and use that to lure her into a duel with Summervale, where she will be killed.
Honor is devastated when she hears of Paul's death, and returns to Manticore. Her friends have discovered that Summervale was hired by Young. Honor goads Summervale into challenging her to a duel, where she kills him, and publicly accuses Young. Young is terrified, and hides from Honor, so that she can't challenge him, and hires assassins. Her Grayson bodyguard defeat the assassins, and Honor confronts Young in the House of Lords. On the field, his terror overcomes him, and he shoots Honor in the back. But she manages to kill him before she collapses.
Her political enemies use these events to kick up a storm, and Honor is relieved of command and put on half pay. She returns to Grayson to nurse her wounds.