There's a very simple explanation for all this. The covers got swapped in publication. As for the jumping around within each book, well, Dean Wesley Smith and I each wrote a single book, but they were shuffled together chapter-by-chapter and divided in half again to make two volumes in the series. We knew that was going to happen, so we planned the chapters to compliment each other; we just didn't expect the covers to be swapped or the bylines to read "Ryan Hughes" on one and "Dean Wesley Smith" on the other rather than both names on both books.
One last little snafu: chapters 14 and 15 of HARD CRASH got switched with chapters 16 and 17. Read 16 and 17 first, then go back and read 14 and 15.
I know it sounds like a total disaster, and believe me, from the author's viewpoint it feels like it, but Dean and I do feel that we wrote a couple of decent books. If you want to read what WE wrote, in the way we wrote it, then get both books, start with PROPHET'S POWER and read just the "First Occupation" sections, then continue with the "First Occupation" sections in HARD CRASH. That will be Dean's book. Then go back to PROPHET'S POWER and read the "Second Occupation" sections, and finish off with those sections in HARD CRASH. That will be my book. (Don't forget the two chapters out of order.)
I know, I know, it shouldn't take a road map to read a book! Presumably when they reprint these they'll fix the problem, but for now, that's the way to get the best reading experience.
My thanks to everyone with the patience and/or interest to try it that way--I sincerely hope you enjoy the books.