In Anthony's near/medium future, greenhouse effects have altered global climates: Florida lies under water (but not, apparently, Washington, D.C.); much of the Midwest is now desert; fuel shortages are acute; and famine is endemic. With North Africa rendered uninhabitable, the ``Arabs'' (actually a Muslim coalition, including Iranians and Turkic peoples) have invaded Europe. As the victorious Arabs advance through the Ukraine, and across Spain to the Pyrenees, mysterious blue lights are observed hanging over battlefields; mutilated bodies, inexplicably gutted and dehydrated, show up. Some of the rather too numerous--though well-handled--plot elements: As teenager Jerry wearily treks westward across a devastated US, he's taken up by the slug-like aliens behind the blue lights--they're curious about his powerful wishes; computer nerd and robot tank operator Gordon also shows an affinity for the blue lights; US General Lauterbach desperately tries to make contact with the aliens in the hope of enlisting their aid; and the first to be abducted, Navy pilot Justin, is forced by the aliens to relive his moment of cowardice under fire. Included as well are the exploits of a fake USO expert, a bewildered pathologist, and a drunken Ukrainian general. Can nuclear war be averted? What do the aliens really want, and will they intervene? Anthony provides absorbing if oblique answers. Gripping and realistic--despite an initial scenario that doesn't add up, rather nebulous aliens, and an overdose of military acronyms: an assured, imaginative, and distinctive debut.