Typical in the sense that it takes 50-70% of the book for the story to develop while one slowly paces through the pages waiting for the excitement to build and then during the last chapters everything literally explodes so that one can hardly let go of the book hastily reading through chapters within hours.
I like McDevitt because he somehow creates a feasible future for the human race and its struggle among the stars; he does not start his stories in a fictional world/time where there are already various stellar races, interstaller ships etc but rather all his stories develop from where the technology is now and/or might be in a few decades. I like how he builds stories on extraterrestial intelligence (Ancient Shores) or invents science fiction thrillers evolving among the man's chase of other intelligent life.
In the Cauldron, very like in his other novels, I had to read through 200 pages of boring politics/power struggle/unsuccessful technological attempts before the real excitement kicked in. But then the pace gets incredible; interstellar travel, discovery of other earth-like planets, first contact with other races (eveh with Chindi makers)..
It is definitely a good / short read.