Having read and enjoyed the first 3 books of the Heritage series, I thought I'd give another book by Charles Sheffield a go. Right from the beginning this book struck me as disjointed. There's a murder investigation, an incoming particle wave from a star that went nova and a shield that was supposed to protect the earth that needs repairing. The subplots don't blend well and one almost reads like a seperate short story. As this is a work of hard science fiction, there are loads of scientific data, yet the fact that earth was nearly destroyed by the initial shock wave from the star is summed up in a few sentences. Writing about characters was never the author's strong suit and it shows in this novel. If you want to try a book by this author start with Summertide, the first in the Heritage books.