Sometime near the end of this century the aliens landed en masse for all to see. They were assimilated into relative public visibility and soon had a "brother" in the White House: Brother Reen-ja, White House Chief of Staff (our main character).
The story is told with all the whimsy and horror an alien's point of view might muster, from an anthropomorphic perspective of course. Yet even given that limitation, Patricia Anthony's style and skill escape the printed page and invade the mind space of your interfaced imaginations.
Without giving too much away, I do want to wet your palet to perhaps peak your interest enough that you might check it out. Chief of Staff Reen is a representative of a hive minded species of interstellar origin. In this reality they appear to have been with us only since the modern era of flying saucers. They are a dying species and so are we. They have been here secretly since the 1940's working diligently abducting humans in an effort to continue THEIR race within the synthesis of our two species.
The "Loving Helpers" are small, lock-stepping drones whose group mind literally paralyzes humans as our consciousnesses join in the totality of their overmind. Up the evolutionary ladder from these identityless robots are the "Cousin Brothers." They have a relative amount of identity that in some cases has become far too human by Community standards. We find that "Cousin Brother Firstborn" Reen-ja has "Second Brother" Tali, "guardian of his conscience." There are moments within this book that Patricia Anthony realistically creates how a hive minded consciousness might feel, with both its pros and cons.
After the aliens made their presence dramatically known in this reality's history and after they took up residence within our government their influence spread rapidly. When Brother Reen-ja first appeared for an interview on NBC's The Today Show it became public that the Community believed in a spirit world and that they regularly consulted the ghosts of their ancestors whom they revered. Spiritualism spread like wildfire across the country!! "Charma Sellers" became all the rage despite the Community's disdain for such blasphemy.
One of the first dramatic political changes was the elimination of the Presidential term limit under the administration of Jeff Womack. The book begins after Womack has been in office for nearly fifty years, the last seven of which have been without a Vice-President.
However, some things have stayed the same. Their is plenty of espionage in this book and most of it occurs between the embittered CIA and FBI. Nothing is as it seems and at times the stupidity and alienness of the infighting is driven home by the naive perspective of an alien who has become all too human.
There are several other interesting flourishes within the book. Patricia Anthony incorporates the JFK assassination ala John Lear but with several twists including the return of John F Kennedy as Vice-President to Jeff Womack via a channeling "charma seller." Wacky indeed!