Another near-future venture in aliens-among-us realism, from the author of the highly impressive Cold Allies (1992). Gray-skinned, long-lived, humanoid, hive-minded aliens- -``Cousins''--have secretly been controlling the US since Eisenhower signed a deal with them in 1948 (among other things, they helped assassinate JFK at Hoover's behest). Fifty years from now, First Cousin Brother Reen is White House chief of staff; President Womack--thanks to the Cousins' medical expertise, he's been in office for half a century--is on strike, pretending to be senile, refusing to cooperate. CIA director Marian Cole and FBI chief William Hopkins are feuding openly, while Reen himself can no longer rely on his Brother Conscience, Tali, who is conspiring with the Sleep Master to replace Reen. Seeking advantage, Hopkins has allied himself with Tali, while Cole experiments on kidnapped Cousins in a search for a lethal chemical. Tali, meanwhile, threatens to use the Cousins' doomsday weapon--a virus that will render humanity sterile. Reen's greatest problem is that the Cousins themselves are genetically moribund (only a tiny, and decreasing, proportion of them are intelligent), so he has been attempting a fusion of human and Cousin genes--his own and Marian Cole's--that might produce a race capable of long-term survival. All this barely skirts the fringes of an enthralling plot in which, layer by layer, Anthony exposes the tragicomic but ultimately pitiless human-alien confrontation. Chilling, memorable work, with splendid characters and utterly convincing aliens, set forth with unstoppable narrative momentum.