Second prequel (Phylogenesis, 1999) to Foster's Commonwealth yarns (the Flinx series, etc.). Humanity has formed a cautious alliance with the insectlike thranx, disconcerting the thranx's competitors, the lizardlike AAnn. But the rabidly xenophobic Pitar, a narcissistic bunch who can tolerate no rivals, wipe out a human colony and threaten both the human and thranx homeworlds. To defeat the Pitar, humans and thranx must develop a military collaboration. The AAnn, meanwhile, ponder ways and means to break up this cozy cooperation. Okay for series fans, otherwise bland and dispensable.