After many years, I finally re-read this classic science-fiction tale of first contact with an alien race. Writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle have worked well together on several books, and this is one of their best collaborations. It isn't perfect, the last section of the book seemed anti-climactic when I read this the first time, since the reader already knows more than the characters do. This time around, I did enjoy the way the two groups are racing to figure out each other's mysteries before making an important decision. Otherwise, it is a great story, with some good characters, a great plot, and some excellent ideas. It might just be the best first contact story ever told.