Although it is eventually brought to light, the start of this book happens far from the Starship Excalibur, and deals with characters who you think, originally, have nothing to do with the ship on the New Frontier.
There are two characters, Xyon and Riella, who are somewhat interesting, and who take up a major portion of this book. It is unfortunate, however, that you don't really find out who these people are until a good portion of the book has gone by.
When it does touch on the characters we've grown to love on the USS Excalibur, "The Quiet Place" is very much about Si Cwan, the enigmatic Thallonian who survived the fall of the Thallonian Empire, and Captain Calhoun. Shelby gets a bit of the stage as well, mostly in relation to Calhoun.
Once I was aboard the Excalibur, I was happy again, but too much of this story was the "set-up" for the rest of it, and I was bored enough that I put it down quite often at the beginning. Still, the ending redeems it, the new plot wrinkles are definitely good ones, and with patience, the book pays off.