We're lucky in the fact that the action starts soon after the book begins. There isn't much character development to rush through. The larger mining ship is waiting for a couple dropships to return when they notice something wrong; you guessed it, aliens make their way onto the ship and people die.
The twist with this story is the awakening of Ripley well before the events of Aliens. (huh?) How can Ripley be involved in an alien adventure/horror story and not remember it or reference it in Aliens? Lebbon is tasked with creating a plausible explanation and I bet most of you can figure it out without reading the story.
There are moments of suspense, action, and horror. It has a nice mixed feel of the three decent Alien movies - combining elements of each to make it successful. Lebbon even introduces a new alien species to keep things interesting.
One criticism I have to share doesn't deal with the story at all but an editorial complaint. Throughout the book there were weird spacings in words that had the "f" letter. The spacings occurred so many times that they jolted me out of the story when I came upon them.
I can't wait to read the second and third books in this trilogy to see how they connect. This first story did Alien well.