In this third pre-quel to Larry Niven’s Ringworld, the Fleet of Worlds is once again in danger – this time from a horde of aliens fleeing the disaster at the center of the galaxy.
This action packed novel set in Niven’s Known Space universe, follows the migration of the Pak (of which humans were descended from in this universe) as they flee from the core explosion. The Pak come in two forms, a breeder form, which looks like early humans, and the protector form, which are short, bald, nearly immortal, neuter and blindingly smart post-adult versions of the Pak when they reach a certain stage of life. Unfortunately, the Pak are very protective of their breeder brood and destroy every civilization in their path.
The Fleet of Worlds gets a mysterious message from the G’woth, a communal mind alien species that resemble starfish or undersea vent dwelling worms. The human scouts arrive at the G’woth homeworld and find to their shock that they have developed from stone age to fusion power in a very short amount of time due to the works of their 16-pack communal mind brethren. The Puppeteers accompanying the humans are suitably alarmed but they decide that the Pak fleet is a bigger threat and head off to investigate.
I found this action packed novel a much nicer read than the first two (review here