A friend of mine described this book to me, and I was interested in it, but he couldn't remember the title or author.
Setting is in outer space and on a variety of planets, were humanity has launched its first interstellar ship. The ship gets captured, and the remaining astronauts are picked up by a woman who is something like an Inquisitor working for a race of sentient synthetic AI's that seeming can answer question using time as a variable, not a constant (ie, sending the question back in time?).
One of the things that stood out in my mind was that the galaxy in large had very loose laws of physics. Evidently, Newtonian physics only worked near earth, and spaceships would have multiple engines/means of locomotion to travel from point A to B. One sector had magic, while another had technology, etc.