I was very pleased to read this action-filled gem. I was led to believe this was a thinking man˚s space opera, and I suppose it fits the bill, but honestly, all I could think about was how great this novel could be if it were turned into a big-budget first-person video game by our best designers. I got a huge kick out of the grandiose scale of the battles, from the breakout of the ex-culture mothership, the sinking of the titannic-ish boat, the train wreck, or the even the habitat destruction. I suppose I even appreciate the non-hollywood ending! I˚ve never really sought out space opera in my library, but the few I have read, have been very memorable, such as Brin˚s Uplift series. I˚m starting to have a distinct impression that I may have to open my horizons again, if this novel is a valid representaion of the sub-genre. Even if it isn˚t, I am going to enjoy the other Culture books.