This sequel to the award-winning "White Queen" takes place some years later on an earth torn by the Gender Wars or the Traditionalists versus the Reformers. Earth still accommodates the Aleutians, hermaphroditic aliens who have been lost in space aboard a huge ship-world for countless generations and have now made earth their home.
The Aleutians, whose absolute belief in reincarnation makes them immortal, at least in their own eyes, do not understand earthlings' concern with individual death, which gives them an amusingly skewed vision of war, pollution and disease.
Aleutians communicate almost telepathically through wanderers, bits of themselves which wander from one to another like lice, carrying information. Their technology is also life-based - tools created from their own cells - and they have no interest in earth technology or "dead" matter. They cannot comprehend, for instance, the earthlings attachment to the Himalayas, which the Aleutians would like to level in the interests of climate control.
The protagonists are Sidney Carton, a consciously literary fellow, who may or may not be the Aleutian ally he pretends to be, and Bella, the "isolate" Aleutian crippled among her/his own kind by a lack of wanderers and sought by all sides for reasons she does not understand. Rescued from human attack by Sidney, Bella discovers health and strength in adversity and a surprising talent for human virtual reality games.
The book's adventures through war-torn cities and cultural factions are at times confusing - Jones makes it purposely difficult to determine the sides, and their search for the secret human discovery of faster-than-light travel seems an afterthought - but Jones' vision of alien culture keeps its quirky allure, being both thought-provoking and humorous.