So did you ever read Larry Niven’s Known Space books? Ringworld is the most famous (though not, to my mind, the best) of them? If not, you really should, because they’re fun space-opera/hard SF-ish elaborate future history things, with exotic alien races and asteroid miners and all the stuff that made classic SF classic. (Start with Neutron Star, an old-timey short story collection.) If so, and if you liked them, then hey, here’s Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner’s Fleet of Worlds , a story set on the Puppeteer homeworlds and dealing with early Puppeteer/human interactions.
It doesn’t feel quite precisely like classic Known Space stuff — it’s a little slower, a little more sober — but it’s not too far off, and certainly better than the recent direct Ringworld sequels. My prediction is that if you’ve read through and enjoyed a sizable fraction of the Known Space canon, you’ll like this. So go pick up either Neutron Star or this, unless you have a known aversion to Known Space.