Earlier this year I read three sci-fi books I strongly recommend you if you are interested by the genre. The five books making this cycle were written by Alastair Reynolds, a UK scientist who dedicated himself to writing space operas.
Back to 2007 I read Chasm City the second opus of the cycle which can be read as a stand alone. If you like this one as much as I did (I then gave it a grade of 17/20), you will love the whole series.
Taking place in a not-so-distant future, The Revelation Space cycle provides a good plot in a coherent universe filled with interesting ideas and characters.