As I am beginning to find, this was a pretty standard Jack McDevitt novel. So I liked it, but you shouldn't really read a lot of one author at the same time, you can find all the faults and the good points diminish with familiarity.
Though this one had one heck of a "Helicopter moment." That is when something is so ridiculous that you can't buy it, even with the best special effects. I coined the phrase from watching Mission Impossible 2; when the helicopter s following the Chunnel train through the tunnel. If it had been just a quick scene I don't think the impossibility of the whole thing would have bothered me. But the scene went on way to long and the longer that helicopter was on the screen, the longer you noticed that its rotors wouldn't fit and the whole thing was silly.
So in this book some scientists are on a planet to study the archeology of a world that is about to be destroyed: not by human hands I should point out. Due to a misfortune in celestial mechanics one planet is about to crash into another one. They are on this planet, and one thing leads to another and they get stranded. The ships up in space have to figure some way to rescue them without a shuttle or lander to pick them up. Using parts from four different spaceships as well as some orbital junk, they make a giant scoop. The stranded people can get about 10,000 feet up and then this scoop will come down and carry them high enough the spaceships can get down to them.
I have seen worse plot devices, but he spends probably a third of the book talking about building the thing and how it really can work see, here are the mechanics of it. Really, honest, it will too work. I think if he hadn't tried so hard it would have been easier to just accept it, but this was not really believable by the end. In a science fiction novel that is pretty bad. I'll believe a lot of things, at least temporarily, in a fiction novel.
Deepsix. Jack McDevitt. Eos Books. 2001