Y'know, Amazon's recommendations are occasionally spot on - even if I thought they were crap at the time. I resisted getting this for a long time, but snagged it at the local used bookstore. And dammit if I didn't find it an interesting and entertaining read.
The book opens with an alien, Aras, talking with other aliens about the coming of humans and their intentions and possible fate. It then moves to a police action on a space station against a biotech corporation by EnHaz (environmental hazard) for illegal research by the European Federation. Here, we meet our main viewpoint character, Shan Franklin - police officer, committed environmentalist and rapidly looking forward to retirement. She's mad an offer she cannot refuse by a high level politician - and its one that she voluntarily accepts, though the briefing she receives suppresses her memory of why she accepted as well as the actual mission - which is a 75 year round trip to the world where the aliens were discussing the coming humans.
From there we meet Shan's support team for the mission - a naval officer, a group of royal marines, several scientists and a reporter. Before long we meet the colonists and the aliens. From there we learn about the history of the world, its unique circumstances and the politics of it.
I'm not doing this justice, but its a neat read. The characters are well drawn to my eyes, with some depth to them. The situation is interesting and its a lot of fun. And much to my dismay there are sequels. Arggh! My budget!