Sequel to Jones's impressive aliens-among-us yarn, White Queen (1993), winner of the James Tiptree, Jr., Award. With humanity distracted by the two-decades-long Gender Wars, the noseless, hermaphrodite, alien Aleutians have established trading posts across the globe. Interpreter Sidney Carton, a spy for a shadowy anti-Aleutian group, is attached to alien bigwig Matri and his librarian, Bella, while the pair tours some ancient Greek ruins. There, Sid seizes his chance to abduct Bella, and takes ``her'' to his home district of Trivandrum in India. It emerges that various factions, both human and alien, are searching for the secret of the instantaneous transfer device demonstrated by Peenemunde Buonarotti. Bella is believed to be the key: She may be the ``daughter'' of Johnny Guglioli, executed by the Aleutians, one of only two people known to have used the transporter device. Some of the Aleutians believe that Bella embodies physical memories of the event. Eventually, in a twisting, turning adventure where no one and nothing are what they seem--often to a quite tedious extreme- -Sid and Bella must make their own choices about who they are and what they will become. Brilliantly developed aliens, along with torturous and murky plotting and an overcomplicated backdrop. As with Mary Gentle, whom Jones resembles in style and approach, what's needed is a lighter touch, with more suggesting and less head-thumping.