This book has an odd genesis: The main section first appeared in much shorter form in 1971 as a collaboration between Delany (The Bridge of Lost Desire, 1987, etc.) and James Sallis. It was then rewritten and expanded by Delany in 1992; two related short stories round out the volume. In the far future, an army of the expansionist empire of Myetra, led by the cruel, bloodthirsty Prince Nactor and his thoughtful, civilized lieutenant, Kire, attacks the peaceful village of Äiron. Utterly bewildered, the villagers are routed--but then form an alliance with the Winged Ones, flying humanoids from the high mountain village of Hi-Vator. During the occupation, Prince Nactor condemns Kire to death for refusing to beat and rape singer Naa, and he appoints the stalwart Äironian Rahm as Kire's executioner. But Rahm kills Nactor instead, which touches off a bloody rebellion in which Kire, the Äironians, and the Winged Ones swiftly defeat the Myetrans. A slender fable, without new perspectives on the intractable problem of how nonviolent societies might defend themselves against ruthless aggressors.