Reliably good hard sf space opera from Steele. This is in the Coyote universe but only loosely related to the Coyote stories, which I had been finding a little bogged down in their own history and characters recently, so this was somewhat refreshing. It's a first contact story, and a fun enough representative of the type.
The characters are fairly one-dimensional, and the bad guys in particular seem motivated by little else beyond the needs of the story to have some villains. On the other hand, the exploration and hazards of space sections more than make up for those shortcomings.