I read this book about 31-Jan-2010. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2005. This note was last modified Sunday, 14-Feb-2010 15:16:22 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
First solo book I tried by the guy who co-authored the &mdash of Worlds series with Larry Niven.
I enjoyed this a lot. The aliens arrive and invite us to consider joining the Commonwealth. Except a few suspicious people keep turning up bits of slightly inconsistent data.
Turns out the aliens stumbled on us, and are working on a movie. Which is supposed to climax with our nuclera self-immolation.
A film crew was treveling in a tramp freighter, and see us as an opportunity. The robots they send down to work with us (and I spotted they were robots way before the characters in the book did) are used partly because the aliens are so xenophobic they can't stand to interact with us personally. The big ship out by the moon is a fake; the "landing craft" is their real ship.
Another passenger defects to us, and tells us what's really going on. She's the one who first discovered us, and they haven't told her what they're doing.
Furthermore, after we successfully lure them down and storm the ship, things look rosy for a while, until the moon suddenly dims, and we have to resume manned spaceflight to go kill the nanomachines that turned the whole surface of the moon into a sunlight-to-microwave converter, aimed at the Earth. The alien captain is willing for his revenge to take many years, even decades.
There is, of course, no actual Commonwealth.
There is, however, the promise of fusion technology soon, and the possibility of microwave power beams to power our technology, and an excuse for man to resume travel in space personally.
Has a typically lousy Baen cover. Weird color and contrast issues, too. Hey, I should have bought the ebook of this instead of the paperback.