I read it in the 80's. Cover had a person in a spacesuit standing in a river of lava. On the shore was some sort of alien critter(s). Think perhaps this was inside a cave?
Premise of the book was a group of people were decimating planets for some unknown reason. Main character (?Bron?) was "imprinted" with the memories/behaviors of a person the "ravengers" would want to abduct. Main character was in contact with remote "handlers" who could communicate with him and assist via implants. One of the controllers was a woman called or nicknamed JC.
Ended up that aliens in the far distant past were sending sub-light "bombs" to destroy the planets which took eons to finally show up and deliver their payload.
There was also some sort of prognosticating going on -- the main character was imprinted with the memory of one of the main teacher/leader/something of this technology.
Final explanation is that the aliens foresaw that humans would one day visit their planet, and in a fit of xenophobia decided to try to destroy the humans. Main character figured this out and then backtracked to the aliens home world. When humans showed up, the race had degenerated back into savagery.