I usually say re-reading a book certainly helps me understand it.... I know I had read this before (or listened to it), but I hadn't realized I had done it twice!
In any case, this was an enjoyable reading, as I much-better knew the characters and some of the key events. Often Niven likes to skip/jump the plot or only give an implication of what happened; now that I knew the general plot, I could catch these more easily (like the Puppeteer's flight and fight reflex.
Some things (spoiler) are still pretty obtuse. When the 2nd book talked about the "map of Earth" - I had to go back and find where they discovered it in this book. Even re-reading it didn't make it particularly clear; they just identified landmasses "as big as continents on Earth."
Anyway - definitely a great story, and what a world to have built - so many more stories to create.
03/01/2020 // F // Kindle