Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer offers an epic hard-science space adventure full of technical descriptions of starships and physics tempered by human concerns. In the twenty-first century, the human race has both developed faster-than-light travel and contacted nonhuman intelligent races. Starplex, under the command of Keith Lansing, is one of the contact makers. Lansing faces hostile crew members, the personal and cultural idiosyncracies of nonhumans, the problems of first contact, and a marriage that may be deteriorating. Scientists on the Starplex study the mysterious artificial wormholes that make space travel routine and convenient. Then the wormholes’ creators appear, and the scientists must understand and communicate with them to save the galaxy.