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Admiral Thomas Edward Theisman is a fictional character in the Honorverse, a series of military science fiction novels written by David Weber. He first appeared as a starship commander in The Honor of the Queen, the series' second novel, and gradually became one of the leading antagonists of the series.
Theisman became one of the first Havenite characters to be depicted as noble and sympathetic, despite serving the nation which is at war against the protagonist Honor Harrington's native Star Kingdom of Manticore. He is sometimes thought to have been inspired by the french general and revolutionary Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette, sharing a comparable deep attachment to the principles of their respective Republics, as well as disdain for prominent and public positions of political power.
By the time of the second novel of the series, The Honor of the Queen, and having reached the rank of Commander, Theisman was sent to the theocratic star nation of Masada to serve as a "loaner" to the Masadan Navy, in order to command the destroyer Principality for the Masadans as part of a proxy war against their neighboring world and rival, Grayson, which in turn was being courted by Haven's main rival, the Star Kingdom of Manticore. After serving with the Masadans for a brief period, and having witnessed the brutal treatment inflicted by them to a group of Manticoran prisoners, Commander Theisman was defeated in battle and captured by Captain Honor Harrington, but was later returned to the People's Republic.
Theisman continued his career during the following years, commanding a heavy cruiser during the opening stages of the war with Manticore, as depicted in the series' third novel, The Short Victorious War. After Rob S. Pierre's coup, which placed the People's Republic under the dictatorship of the Committee of Public Safety, he quickly rose to the rank of Rear Admiral -mainly due to the regime's policy of shooting defeated fleet commanders-, and commanded a task force during the Fourth Battle of Yeltsin in a second attempt to conquer Grayson, narrowly avoiding a battle with Honor Harrington when the operation was disrupted (Flag in Exile).
Admiral Theisman was later given command of the Havenite forces at the Seabring system, where he successfully repelled a Manticoran attack, a victory which earmarked him for promotion and command of the major Havenite base at the Barnett System. It was during his tenure at Barnett that he had to deal with the capture of Honor Harrington by one of his subordinate commanders, Rear Admiral Lester Tourville, and where he gained firsthand insight into the brutal nature of the Committee of Public Safety's regime, as he witnessed first hand the torture and humiliation of Harrington and other Manticoran captives inflicted and ordered by one of the Committee's leaders, Committeewoman Cordelia Ransom (In Enemy Hands).
Despite serving nations at war with each other, both he and Honor Harrington mutually respect each other as leaders of men and highly capable military commanders. Theisman has also garnered the respect of many of his subordinate admirals, such as Lester Tourville. Unlike Esther McQueen, another top Havenite admiral, he was not viewed as dangerously ambitious by the Committee of Public Safety, largely because his People's Commissioner (Denis LePic) was concealing Theisman's growing discontent with the tyrannical Havenite regime. In the eyes of the Committee, Theisman was regarded as a military professional with no political ambitions whatsoever, and thus he could be entrusted with important assignments.
After Admiral McQueen's death during an attempted coup against the Committee (as shown in the ninth novel, Ashes of Victory and the short story Nightfall), Admiral Theisman was recalled from Barnett and appointed as Commander of Capital Fleet, the Havenite Navy's military command responsible for defending the planet Haven itself. After securing the support of fellow discontent admirals, Theisman launched a successful coup d'état and personally killed the dictator Oscar Saint-Just, thus ending the rule of the People's Republic of Haven. It is said that he restored the honor of the People's Navy.
Refusing to put Haven under a military dictatorship, Admiral Theisman turned down the offer of the Presidency of the restored Republic of Haven, instead letting Eloise Pritchart take that position. For his part, he reestablished the post of the Chief of Naval Operations (the senior uniformed officer of the reborn Republican Navy), holding both that position and the position of Secretary of War (mentioned as past events by the time of the tenth novel of the series, War of Honor).
As Haven's Secretary of War and senior military officer, Theisman presided over the reconstruction of the Havenite Navy, which had been devastated and technologically outclassed after the ten-year-long war with Manticore, as well as leading the Navy in a bitter civil war to defeat the remnants of the People's Republic. Despite personally opposing a renewed war against Manticore, Admiral Theisman planned and executed the surprise attack which reignited the war between the two star nations, and has commanded the Havenite Navy ever since (War of Honor and At All Costs).
"...stocky, brown-haired man in civilian dress..."
" Thomas Theisman reminded her (Adm. Henke) a lot of Alastair McKeon,... ...Neither Theisman nor McKeon was exactly a towering giant of a man . . . physically, at least. But both of them had steady eyes -- Thesiman's brown and McKeon's gray, both of them radiated that sense of tough competence, and both of them... ...projected that same aura of quiet, unflinching integrity."(Storm from the Shadows, Ch. 2)