(hb; 1987: third novel in the Space Odyssey quadrilogy)
From the inside flap:
". . . Heywood Floyd, survivor of two previous encounters with the mysterious monoliths, must again confront David Bowman -- or whatever Bowman has become -- a newly independent HAL, and the power of an alien race that has decided that Humanity is to play a part in the evolution of the galaxy whether it wishes to or not."
While exploring Halley's Comet, Heywood Floyd and his shipmates on the Universe receive the message that the crew of the Galaxy -- one of them Heywood's grandson Chris -- has crashed on Europa, an evolving, unstable planet circling the minisun Lucifer (once known as the planet Jupiter). Their danger is exacerbated by the monolith makers' explicit warning that men should not land on Europa, an experimental satellite under the monolith makers' control.
Politics, greed and (once again) curiosity highlight this third entry in the Space Odyssey series, which is just as exciting and optimistic -- on scientific and storytelling levels -- as its predecessor novels, 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two.
2061 is not only worth reading, it is worth owning. Followed by 3001: The Final Odyssey.