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Halo: Retribution

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Halo: Retribution
Front cover of Halo: Retribution.
Attribution information


Troy Denning[1]

Cover artist(s):

Benjamin Carré[2]

Publication information


Simon & Schuster[1]

Publication date:

August 29, 2017[1]

Media type:

Digital and print[1]


368 pages[1]




Halo: Retribution is a novel by Troy Denning.[3] Having first appeared on Amazon's website,[1] Retribution was officially announced on June 23, 2017, and was released on August 29, 2017. Set in late 2553, the novel follows up on Denning's Halo: Fractures short story A Necessary Truth, although many of the central characters from the preceding novel Halo: Last Light also make a return.[4]

Official summary[edit]

December 2553. Less than a year after the end of the Covenant War, a string of violent incidents continues to threaten the tenuous peace in human-held space, culminating in the assassination of UNSC fleet admiral Graselyn Tuwa and the abduction of her family. It is a provocation so outrageous that the Office of Naval Intelligence must retaliate swiftly and ferociously—but only after its operatives identify her killer and rescue the hostages.

This mission will be the first for homicide-detective-turned-ONI-operative Veta Lopis and her young team of Spartan-IIIs, and something feels wrong from the start. The obvious suspect is an infamous Brute who leads the Keepers of the One Freedom, an ex-Covenant splinter group in fierce opposition to the UNSC. But Lopis and her team soon realize that the truth is much more insidious than they could ever have imagined, and with Frederic-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-058 of Blue Team for combat support, they must stop a plan hatched in the bowels of the secret research station Argent Moon — a plan so sinister it could destroy all those still reeling from thirty years of intergalactic [sic] conflict…[4]

Plot synopsis[edit]

In December 2553, Veta Lopis and her Ferret team—comprised of the SPARTAN-IIIs Ash-G099, Olivia-G291, and Mark-G313—are on a mission to find the abducted family of UNSC Fleet Admiral Graselyn Tuwa, who was recently assassinated. While disguised, the team gain the trust of a group of Kig-Yar in league with the Keepers of the One Freedom, their primary suspect. While aboard the Kig-Yar's ship, which is heading to the Keepers' hidden Salvation Base, the Kig-Yar attempt to gas them, but the Ferrets take over the ship for themselves, posing as "believers." Meanwhile, SPARTAN-II Blue Team tracks the Ferrets from aboard the UNSC Silent Joe, one of the Office of Naval Intelligence's Sahara-class heavy prowlers, as backup. Eventually, the Ferrets infiltrate Salvation Base—on a strange Forerunner world—in search of the Tuwa family.

While at the base, Olivia-G291 discovers a Turaco ship with evidence of a connection to Dark Moon Enterprises, which planted the bodies of the Tuwa family within the detention center of Salvation Base to frame the Keepers of the One Freedom. A battle occurs when the Ferrets cross paths with the Keepers' leader, Castor, but Lopis and the Ferrets escape in the Turaco with Blue Team as Salvation Base is destroyed.

Castor, having also discovered the Tuwa's corpses, decides to search for the Dark Moon operatives as well. Although not working together with Lopis, they both follow the trail of evidence back to a laboratory on Gao, where President Arlo Casille admits to having made dealings with Dark Moon. Casille allowed them to use his labs if they promised to deal with the Keepers, who wanted vengeance on Casille after the recent conflict on the planet. Dark Moon had previously attempted to manufacture a harmful bioweapon researched on Argent Moon using the Tuwa's remains, but they succeeded within the labs on Gao.

After interrogating Casille, Veta Lopis and her Ferrets were led to Pinnacle Station above Meridian, where the AI Governor Sloan had initially advised Casille to work with Dark Moon Enterprises. The Keepers, the Ferrets, and Dark Moon with their bioweapon all converge on Pinnacle Station and a battle erupts, eventually traveling to the surface of Meridian. Although the Spartans and Ferrets manage to neutralize the bioweapon and Dark Moon, Castor escapes.

After the narrative ends, it is revealed that the Forerunner Ancilla, Intrepid Eye, was behind the bioweapon plot and Dark Moon Enterprises. With her plot at least temporarily foiled, Intrepid Eye framed Bartalan Craddog with creating the bioweapon and remained secretly in control of the station and further secret projects. The Spartans and Ferrets never learn this truth, and the true mastermind of the plot is only revealed to the reader.

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  • The novel's cover is illustrated by artist Benjamin Carré, who also provided artwork for Halo Mythos.[2]
  • Retribution's official summary describes the Human-Covenant War as "thirty years of 'intergalactic' conflict". This is an incorrect usage of the term, as the war was never fought in more than one galaxy; a more appropriate word would have been "interstellar", which is defined as occurring between stars. The Battle of Installation 00 was the only battle of the war to be fought outside the galaxy, though not in another galaxy altogether, and the wording in the summary regardless implies the war was waged on an intergalactic scale consistently for its thirty-year duration.