The trouble with Phoenix is that Richard Cowper had an interesting idea for a story, but no story to go with it. He spends most of the book developing the setting, establishing the characters, and building suspense. And then he doesn’t do anything with what he’s established, and the ending reads as if it were hurriedly slapped on. It’s almost as if the editor forced Cowper to change his original ending, and gave him only a couple hours in which to do so.
I did a little googling, but couldn’t find any information on whether there is a sequel that ties up all the loose ends left dangling by the patched-on ending, and I gotta tell you, I really don’t care if there is. I was pretty pissed by the ending.