It’s spring in Burgundy. The flowers are out and so are the cardinals—of Pope Urban’s renegade papacy, now on the run from the Vatican’s would-be usurper Borja. Most of the Church’s senior leaders have converged upon the city of Besancon, where the Pope plans to offer an ecumenical olive branch to the other Christian denominations with which Rome has been at war.
Fortunately, Urban has up-time help. He can rely upon Cardinal-Protector Larry Mazzare’s theological savvy, Sharon Nichols’ medical skills, and her husband Ruy Sanchez’s keen-eyed experience as a body-guard-in-chief. And even though Urban has a new Papal Guard in the form of Owen Roe O’Neill’s Wild Geese, Mike Stearns has loaned the Pope a small contingent of the Hibernian Battalion—just in case.
Which is prudent, since Urban and his peace initiative are not merely at risk from Borja’s assassins. There is another, more deadly, team of professional killers in town, directed by the man who almost killed the Pope before: lethal Spanish mastermind Pedro Dolor.
Dolor hasn’t come to confess murder—he’s come to commit it.
Stephen Russ never expected to have to answer that question; he went to work, he stayed in his apartment, sometimes had friends over, and the worst thing he'd had to face was looking for a new job after losing his old one.
But that was before a child's desperate scream led him into an alley filled with faceless winged things that almost killed him, before the strange white rat spoke to him, calling itself Silvertail Heartseeker and telling him that this was but the beginning, that the Stars were almost Right and the forces of Azathoth Nine-Armed would soon be unleashed against the world… before Silvertail said that his courage and willingness to risk himself made him the perfect choice to be one of the defenders of the world against this evil.
A defender named Princess Holy Aura, the first of the five Apocalypse Maidens.
Now Steve understands the choice: not whether he is willing to die, but whether he is willing to live… by giving up "Stephen Russ" to become the one chance that the world has against the monstrous forces that wait on the other side of forever.
Collected for the first time, here is the complete Under Jurisdiction body of work falling outside of Matthews' celebrated novels: long out-of-print short stories fleshing out details of the personal histories of favorite characters, including Joslire Curran and Security Chief Stildyne; substantial novellas—two published here for the first time ever—covering critical events in the life of the series, such as the devil’s bargain between Andrej Koscuisko and Captain Lowden on the Ragnarok; and many more novelettes, stories, and vignettes from The Life and Hard Times of “Uncle” Andrej Koscuisko, who is Not a Nice Man.
The Mesan Alignment is revealed, and, for Honor Harrington and the Manticoran Star Kingdom, this means war!
Sometimes things don’t work out exactly as planned.
The Mesan Alignment has a plan—one it’s been working on for centuries. A plan to remake the galaxy and genetically improve the human race—its way.
Until recently, things have gone pretty much as scheduled, but then the Alignment hit a minor bump in the road called the Star Empire of Manticore. So the Alignment engineered a war between the Solarian League, the biggest and most formidable interstellar power in human history. To help push things along, the Alignment launched a devastating sneak attack which destroyed the Royal Manticoran Navy’s industrial infrastructure.
And in order to undercut Manticore’s galaxy‑wide reputation as a star nation of its word, it launched Operation Janus—a false‑flag covert operation to encourage rebellions it knows will fail by promising Manticoran support. The twin purposes are to harden Solarian determination to destroy the Star Empire once and for all, and to devastate the Star Empire’s reputation with the rest of the galaxy.
But even the best laid plans can have unintended consequences, and one of those consequences in this case may just be a new dawn of freedom for oppressed star nations everywhere.
Europe has spiraled into chaos. A conspiracy years in the making combined with general unrest lead to upheaval and revolution. In the midst of the murderous disorder, mercenary Michael Valentine is in Europe with a small team of his Exodus personnel trying to track down the evil and highly dangerous Katarina Montalban. She has initiated a mysterious plot to do away with those who stand between her and ultimate power. The team is on their own, with few friends, few resources—and racing against the clock. Both Valentine and Lorenzo will have to risk some dangerous alliances if they're to succeed.
Meanwhile, Valentine’s friend, one‑time enemy, and sometime partner Hector Lorenzo finds himself in a dungeon owned by Asian drug lord Sala Jihan. He must make a deal that may lead him to cross paths with Valentine again. If two of the most effective killers in existence hunt, even the pandemonium in Europe may be just the first act in an orgy of destruction.
You are Gasper Newlin, a junk loader in the Hillgrove Production Complex. Suddenly fate lands you between rebel and government forces. A split-second decision will determine your loyalty-and plunge you into the heat of battle.