This is a really thought out First Contact story. Imagine a race that develops on a planet devoid of metal close to the surface. So they have to use other technologies than humanity did, without metal. They have excellent ceramics and genetics but are behind in some areas. They also took much longer to develop their society.
A prospector ship from Freehold discovers them and soon the secret is out. Official Freehold and UN diplomatic expeditions are sent to make contact accompanied with an assorted bunch of company ships. The story is really about the colorful diplomatic endeavours that takes place. Michael Z Williamson has a very creative mind. Not so much military action but the ones there is realistic enough.