This is one of the books (the first one maybe?) in Jack McDevitt's "Alex Benedict" series.
This book tells the tale of one Alex Benedict, who inherits his uncles estate and uncovers a bit of a mystery concerning the war with the Mutes (a telepathic race) two centuries ago. The galaxy turns out to be pretty sparse when it comes to intelligent races and when Humans and the Mutes met war unfortunately broke out. The early parts of the war were fought by the worlds out in that region, and as they begged the larger worlds for support they used every dirty trick in the book to win their battles. Alex discovers that the official story isn't QUITE all correct however, and that sets in motion a whole series of events that often don't play out until later books.
This was a good book though I thought a bit slow. We only just started to learn about these characters, and there's an AWFUL lot of introspection and (IMO) dead-end scenes that seemed superfluous. The ending is solid though and about what one would expect here, however, and I was overall quite happy. I can say that other books in this series (I think I've read three or four) are stronger and better paced.
Recommended for any fans of Alex Benedict or fans of solid science fiction adventure. It's a bit slow but later books move faster; you should like this one.