Prophets, Apotheosis: Book One, is the first book in S. Andrew Swann's science fiction trilogy. I had been looking for recommendations for something in the space opera vein and had seen this suggested. My local bookseller had all 3 books on the shelf. Perfect. I enjoyed the first book and already have the 2nd one on my bedside table waiting for tonight.
from the back of the book:
AT THE EDGE OF HUMAN SPACE- It is nearly two hundred years since the collapse of the Confederacy, the last government to claim sovereignty over all of humanity's far-flung interstellar colonies. The void has been filled by many different powers, ranging from the Eridani Caliphate to the Roman Catholic Church. When strange transmissions are received from beyond the fringes of human space, they reveal the existence of human settlements lost since the demise of the Confederacy, colonies that could shift the balance of power should they be claimed by the Caliphate. Thus begins a race between the most advanced ships in the Caliphate fleet and an expedition of mercenaries and scientists recruited by a AI who has a long history with the Confederacy. But when they reach the source of the transmission, Xi Virgins, they will uncover a threat far beyond the scope of any one human government....
SF Signal gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says it's "A splendidly constructed space opera". SFF World calls it "a rewarding and enjoyable novel, a solid entry in the Space Opera subgenre". io9 concludes:
This volume sets up a lot of action for the next book, and that's cool. But Prophets really feels like the first third of a 600 page novel. If the second book picks up the pace The Apotheosis Trilogy will be a satisfying traditional space opera with a twist.