The Expanse books by James S A Corey are an excellent series of space opera science fiction novels. The first two carefully defined the limited space in which humanity was able to operate (essentially a handful of planets) and the effect that the intrusion of an alien “virus” has on society.
The third book Abaddon’s Gate then blew the doors open on the scale of the universe that the story was operating in and now just released is Cibola Burn in which, from the sound of things, our protagonists drive through those open doors.
ENTER A NEW FRONTIER.“An empty apartment, a missing family, that’s creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave.”The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity’s home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.