The novel “Cosmonaut Keep” by Ken MacLeod was published for the first time in 2000. It’s the first book in the Engines of Light Trilogy.
Matt Cairns is a programmer who also accepts jobs that are not exactly legal, exploiting his ability to penetrate computer systems. His contacts lead him to try to penetrate the system of a space station where he discovers much more than expected and ends up involved in a story that also concerns the first contact with an alien species.
On the planet Mingulay, human beings live together with saurs and kraken, on which they have to rely for interstellar travel. Gregor Cairns is part of a family that would like to discover the secrets needed to build their own interstellar starships, but this requires not only to solve a series of technical problems but also to avoid causing the gods’ wrath.