For me, Simmons is a historical horror or sci-fi horror writer first, and then a straight forward Sci-Fi writer. But this book is about stories, poetry, and religion
A group of performers is forced to perform Shakespeare's greatest plays and if they fail, the human race is doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed. Wiped out.
Simmons does a wonderful job capturing the fear and stress of the needed performances. But the world building is good as well and the various levels of aliens as well as the space ships provide reasons for a look at religion.
What I really enjoyed was how he captured all the ins and outs of the personal lives of the performers as well as rivialries but without making anyone into a trophe or sterotype.