In a follow-up to Judgement on Janus, this is one of the most illusory, other-dimensional stories from this excellent science fiction writer. It all concerns the Ifts--plant spirits reincarnated from various exterior sources--aroused from their nirvana-ish state by an attack on their planet from a hostile force (THAT or IT) and from the human off-worlders under ITS control. The battle between good and evil involves an extended, treacherous pilgrimage and occurs more on a psychic than a physical plane. The long complex story is only for Miss Norton's most enthusiastic fans. The writing is in her most involved style and you practically need a machete to break through the underbrush of the Ifts' green, spiritual world.