This is not a first contact novel. Rather, this novel has a lot more in common with a standard mystery/suspense story of the "corporate intrigue" subcategory, albeit in an advanced technological civilization. The main character, Gwynne Heikki runs a salvage company and while working on a contract recovering a crashed space ship, accidentally discovers a secret that the corporation that owns that craft wishes to keep silent by any means. There's plenty of action with a good dose of finely tuned cultural observations. I found it extremely enjoyable, especially because of the strong women lead characters. Melissa Scott has been one of my favorite authors for many years. Wish she'd come out with a new book sometime soon.