This is the sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep. This book demonstrates the Tines advancement and the perfidy that the human soul is capable of demonstrating.
Ravena Bergsndot and the Mad Bad Johanna are featured prominently in this volume of the series. The "children" become divided over whether the Blight is real or not and this presents Ravena with a number of difficulties.
Prejudice rears it's ugly head and counter pointed by the efforts of Johanna. I like the way that Vinge demonstrates a variety of human emotions and aberrations and ascribes them to a different species. He humanizes the Tines while keeping their unique abilities alive and well.
I thought this book was going to finish a trilogy but alas that is not the case. Alas only because I can not find any evidence that he is working on the sequel to this book which leaves many, many unanswered questions.
Vinge is a respected scientist as well as an author of science fiction. You may want to read an interview with him in Wired Magazine.
I enjoyed the book and frankly I think the pacing in this volume is the best of the three so far. I highly recommend it.
Fan Based web site: http://mindstalk.net/vinge/ /This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.