A cool, cynical tale of first contact with the complexity of modern politics and international relations.
I really liked the characters, both human and alien. Our POV character is a minor middle aged geneticist, suddenly and surprisingly catapulted to the big time–though at terrible cost.
Her relationships with her three children are well done; even the naer-do-well kid has interactions and relations that feel authentic from a trying, striving but failing, effort.
Plus, the twist at the end is awesome and deserved.