Finished it a few nights ago.
I stand by my initial appraisal - it's a freakin' good book.
Since I'm not a typical sci-fi reader, I liked the fact that it was a "light" version of what I immagine hardcore science fiction can be like. It's easy to see the technology used in the book's future is based on today's tech, it doesn't require a "super invention" that explains all kinds of unfathomable gadgets. This makes it easy for me to read without rolling my eyes and saying "yeah ... sure".
Actually, the quantum drive potrayed in this book makes more sense to me than Star Trek's warp drive, subspace, hyperspace and what not.
The story is well thought out, it starts out interesting (lots of book have tedious beginnings, this one does not!) and won't let you go. A lokal crisis that turns global is something we're all afraid of, and again it's something real and conceivable.
I liked the characters immediately and got to know them pretty well, even if I wonder, why most of them are single and promiscuous. Maybe it's supposed to be an allusion to a more relaxed future where sex is not considered nasty and dirty and anything that is not missionary style is for deviants and must be prohibited by law. If so, this fact would be explained, somehow.
Now, the end is where it starts to get more and more complicated and sci-fi-ier, and I must say that a sequel will ultimately be some kind of star trek type of story, something I like to watch on TV, but not spend hours and hours reading.
The only "issue" I have is the way Steve keeps the reader in the dark, at times, only to reveal it was all a ploy. That way, while the revelation is a surprise (as intended), it does give the scene a manufactured feeling and the characters become über-smart. I think I'd prefer a more traditional narration.
Now that I've finished, I must admit this is Steve's best work yet and I'd give it an 8/10!
But before you think of a sequel, how about doing one for Lambs Hide, Tigers Seek