Xeno-archeological SF, in which human scientists are desperately trying to find evidence in an archeological dig that will stop the evil corporations moving onto the ruins to start ravaging the alien land for minerals. There’s a mystery as to why the aliens show little interest in their past, and there’s a challenge in trying to make sense of the somewhat cryptic manner of alien communication.
The story moves towards a dramatic denouement – the cover image not really doing justice to the scale and scope and setting of the action. There’s one big beef for me : at one point, the archeologists have a desperate clandestine nocturnal dig in order to find their evidence, under the noses of the armed enemy. They are aware of the need to avoid being spotted on the enemy’s horizon by moonlight – which pretty much most readers will immediately refer back to the first Indiana Jones movie. Bossert was clearly thinking along these lines – he even names one of the characters Inanna.
The story is a little by-the-numbers with Avataresque good scientist/bad industrialist roles, but the ending gives a flash of something a bit different.