This was a very pleasant read but I'm very happy that I got the Omnibus edition! I would have been very frustrated otherwise as it really is one story. I would have to say that it is, overall, very short on action. We saw most of this from John's viewpoint but he was pushed into the background too often to be considered the main character. In fact, there wasn't much depth of character in any of the protagonists! The meeting with the aliens was also a bit weak. Given all this criticism you are probably wondering why I say it was a pleasant read. Well, it was well edited which jaded it easy to read. Many good stories are destroyed by poor language and grammar! It could have been better if it had been expanded to a real four volumes but I still liked it.