Jamie Rich Yes. You don't need to read Sundiver to read this book. But also yes, you should read Startide Rising to read this book. Mind you, Startide Rising and this book are in the same universe, the Uplift War happens just after the second book, but that book can bring depth (if you've read the 2nd book, this is a pun) to some of the plot. So it really isn't a prerequisite, but adds a lot to his book. And it's also a good read. Sundiver, I thought, was an ok novel, but I was unmoved even at the end. Startide Rsing, on the other hand, does bring you in, and it's a great ride.
David I read Startide Rising before I read Sundiver and the Uplift War. Sundiver was good but Startide Rising and the Uplift War were better. I have enjoyed the series completely. I found it didn't matter that I read the out-of-sequence, just added some of historical background to the Uplift War.