The planet Grayson is a fictional human star-nation in the "Honorverse" located in the Yeltsin's Star system. It is a frequent setting for the series as the main character Honor Harrington is a citizen of both Manticore and Grayson.
Grayson was settled in the year 988 P.D. (Post Diaspora; equivalent to 3091 on present-day calendar) by the Reverend Austin Grayson and his followers, all members of the Church of Humanity Unchained. The settlers' intention was to start a new life totally free of technology and live the way the Bible said people should live. This dream was foiled before their ship even landed because Grayson has an unusually high concentration of heavy metals in its soil which made anything indigenous poisonous. As a result technology was necessary just to survive. After the Rev. Grayson's death his doctrine about life totally without technology was abandoned. Adopted in its place was the view that technology in and of itself was not un-Godly, but the way it had consumed Man's life on Earth was. Not all Graysons could accept this reinterpretation, and over the course of several hundred years a political rift developed between the Moderates (those willing to employ technology to a limited extent), and the Faithful (those who wanted nothing to do with technology). War eventually broke out between the two groups. The Moderates won the most battles, but the Faithful had a doomsday weapon, which was intended to blow the planet up. This might have actually happened had Barbara Bancroft, wife of one of the Faithful's leaders, not fled to the Moderates and disclosed the existence of the doomsday weapon. For her bravery, Barbara Bancroft is known as the Mother of Grayson. Having learned about the doomsday weapon the Moderates realized that the time had come to strike a truce with the Faithful. Under the treaty that was signed, the Moderates would provision the Faithful as lavishly as they could, and send the Faithful to the planet Masada in the nearby Endicott system. In the six hundred years since the Faithful's exile, there have been several interplanetary wars between Grayson and Masada. The Masadans have promised to exterminate the Graysons in the name of God.
Social Hierarchy and Culture
The Church of Humanity practiced polygamy even before they came to Grayson. For this reason women outnumbered men on Grayson 4:1. The planet's environment is so dangerous that the original colonists required genetic engineering to survive. However, the genetic alterations unintentionally resulted in a sex-linked genetic defect that killed many males before birth. (This defect was unknown to the Graysons for centuries, until Allison Chou Harrington rediscovered it.) Live female births outnumbered male births 3:1. So the practice of polygamy continued. When first introduced in the Honorverse women were afforded no political or legal rights. They could not vote, sit on juries, own land, or hold a title. Throughout the course of the novels, largely due to the influences of Honor Harrington and Manticore, this changes. Eventually the laws are changed sufficiently so that even the hereditary steading titles can be passed to women.
The people of Grayson have maintained traditions, customs and attire which were millenary by Honor Harrington's time. Grayson, for example, is the only world where neckties are still in use. It is, together with Earth and another seven planets (out of the 2000+ worlds inhabited by Humanity) one of the last planets where baseball is still played. Swordfighting is also practiced as a martial art; the mainstream style of swordfighting used on Grayson has been developed using the old movie The Seven Samurai as a model.
Grayson is also the only world mentioned in the Honorverse which has never developed an indigenous calendar and time-reckoning system to suit the planet´s rotation and orbital periods; the official planetary day is still Earth´s 24-hour day and the official year lasts 365 Earth days. Even the Post Diaspora calendar is not used—Grayson´s official time reckoning is the Gregorian calendar. Non-Grayson observers jokingly hold these facts as the result of Grayson´s "stubbornness".
The planet is ruled by a Council headed up by a Protector. Since the Rev. Grayson's death, the office of Protector has been vested upon a member of the Mayhew family. For the past five generations, the Council has worked to reduce the amount of autonomous power welded by the Mayhew clan. In this they were very successful. Prior to the Grayson-Manticore alliance the Protectorate had become a largely ceremonial (if influential) position. Grayson's sudden war with its neighbor Masada allowed the current Protector, Benjamin Mayhew IX, to recover most of the office's executive authority, leading to what would be known as the Mayhew Restoration. Whereas most monarchs (such as the Queen of Manticore) are referred to as "the Crown", the Protector is referred to as "the Sword".
The legislative branch of the Protectorate of Grayson is a bicameral legislature. Its houses are the Conclave of Steadholders (upper house), formed by Grayson´s eighty-two Steadholders, and the Conclave of Steaders (lower house), a body formed by the elected representatives of the population of Grayson. All Government and legislative offices are located at Austin City, the Protectorate's capital.
Local government in Grayson is left to feudal lords known as the Steadholders. Each Steadholder rules over a Steading which bears the name of its founder (for example, Harrington Steading, named after Honor Harrington). The capital of each Steading is also named after the Steading's founder. Steadholders are entitled to have a personal guard force, and their official badge is a Key (The Steadholders' collective is referred to as "the Keys"). Within their Steadings, the Steadholder's word is law, provided that he respects Grayson's written Constitution, judicial precedent, and the authority and rights of the Church of Humanity Unchained. Steadholders are immune to judiciary prosecution and the position of Steadholder is hereditary; however, under the "Strathson Precedent", a Steading escheaths to the Protector if the Steadholder dies without an heir.
Traditionally, Grayson's central government had little power over the Steadings, and Steadholders have historically worked in concert to limit the power of the Protector. Every Steadholder is a member of the Conclave of Steadholders, Grayson's upper house (although non-permanent). Honor Harrington made history on Grayson by becoming the first woman, the first foreigner and the first non-communicant of the Church of Humanity Unchained to become Steadholder.
Some of Grayson's 82 Steadings are:
- Mayhew Steading (The Protector's homeland and one of the five original Steadings, current Steadholder is Michael Mayhew, the Protector's younger brother)
- Harrington Steading (The first Steading ever governed by a female Steadholder, Honor Harrington)
- Burdette Steading (One of the five original Steadings. The Steadholdership passed from the Burdette family to the Fitzclarence family. Formerly ruled by William Fitzclarence, Lord Burdette; current ruler unknown after the death of Lord Burdette)
- Mackenzie Steading (One of the five original Steadings. Its current Steadholder is John Mackenzie)
- Mueller Steading (Ruled by Samuel Mueller until his execution under charges of high treason)
- Owens Steading (Ruled by Steadholder Aaron Hearns)
- Coleman Steading (Site of an anti-Protector rally)
- Denby Steading (Current Steadholder is Jonathan Kreshaw)
- Garth Steading
- Surtees Steading (Site of a terrorist attack against Grayson Sky Domes, Ltd. property)
- Strathson Steading (A Steading that was escheathed to the Protector after its Steadholder died without an heir)
- Watson Steading
- Yanakov Steading (One of the five original Steadings)
There were three other Steadings which were disestablished and incorporated into the Protector's personal domain; their Steadholders were the leaders of the Faithful (forefathers of the Masadans) during the Grayson Civil War.
- Bancroft Steading (one of the original five Steadings)
- Oswald Steading
- Simonds Steading (It should be noted that the Simonds family held the top offices of the Masadan government)
There is no separation of church and state whatsoever on Grayson. Civil government is considered as the executive and protective arm of the Church of Humanity Unchained, and the Church is viewed as the spiritual core of the state. One hundred Terran years before the events of Field of Dishonor, the Act of Tolerance granted freedom of religion to the citizens of Grayson.
The legal currency of the Protectorate of Grayson is the austin. At the time of Flag in Exile the Manticoran dollar/Grayson austin exchange rate was 1:1.3.
- Benjamin Mayhew IX—Protector of Grayson
- Michael Mayhew— former Heir to the Protectorate, also holds a commission in the Grayson Space Navy.
- Bernard Yanakov—Admiral of the Grayson Navy (deceased)
- Howard Clinkscales—Former Head of Grayson's Planetary Security and the Regent of Harrington Steading. (deceased)