Dune: House Atreides (Prelude to Dune Series #1) [NOOK Book]



"DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES is a terrific prequel, but it is also a first-rate adventure on its own. Frank Herbert would surely be delighted and proud of this continuation of his vision."—Dean Koontz

Frank Herbert's Dune chronicles became an enduring classic and the most popular science fiction series of all time. Working from recently discovered files ...

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Dune: House Atreides (Prelude to Dune Series #1)

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"DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES is a terrific prequel, but it is also a first-rate adventure on its own. Frank Herbert would surely be delighted and proud of this continuation of his vision."—Dean Koontz

Frank Herbert's Dune chronicles became an enduring classic and the most popular science fiction series of all time. Working from recently discovered files left by his father, Brian Herbert and best-selling novelist Kevin J. Anderson bring us Dune: House Atreides, the prequel, which captures all the complexity and grand themes of the original work while weaving a new tapestry of great passion and momentous destiny into a saga that expands the tale written by Frank Herbert more than thirty years ago.

Complex, brilliant, and prophetic, Frank Herbert's award-winning Dune chronicles captured the imaginations of millions of readers worldwide—and transformed their perception of what the future could be. By his death in 1986, Frank Herbert had completed six novels in the Dune series. But much of his vision—vast, sprawling, and multilayered—remained unwritten. Now, working from recently discovered files left by his father, Brian Herbert and bestselling novelist Kevin J. Anderson collaborate on a new novel, the first volume in the prequel to Dune—where we step onto planet Arrakis...decades before Dune's hero, Paul Atreides, walks its sands. —
Beginning nearly four decades before Dune, House Atreides introduces pivotal characters, alliances, base treacheries, and bright hopes that form the foundation of Dune. On the planet Arrakis, an aging tyrant sits on the Golden Lion Throne and rules all of the known universe, while his son grows dangerously impatient for the crown. A quasi-religious order of black-robed women move their secret breeding program one momentous step closer to creating a god-child they call the Kwisatz Haderach. And a minor family among the nobility, House Atreides, chooses a course of honor that will bring it to destruction at the hands of its mortal enemy, House Harkonnen—or take it to new heights of power.

Here is the rich and complex world that Frank Herbert created in his classic series, in the time leading up to the momentous events of Dune. As Emperor Elrood's son Shaddam plots a subtle regicide, young Leto Atreides leaves his lush, water-rich planet for a year's education on the mechanized world of Ix; a planetologist named Pardot Kynes is dispatched by the Emperor to the desert planet Arrakis, or Dune, to discover the secrets of the addictive spice known as melange; and the eight-year-old slave Duncan Idaho is hunted by his cruel masters in a terrifying game from which he vows escape and vengeance. But none can envision the fate in store for them: one that will make them renegades—and shapers of history.

Covering the decade when Shaddam wins his throne, the teenager Leo Atreides becomes unexpectedly the rule of House Atreides, and Pardot Kynes uncovers one of the planet Dune's greatest secrets, House Atreides stands next to Dune in its power and scope. While this new novel solves some of Dune's most baffling mysteries, it presents new puzzles springing from the sands where one day Paul Muad'Dib Atreides will walk. But now, in the years before Paul's birth, an unforgettable new epic begins. Fans of the Dune chronicles will relish the opportunity to return to the rich and exotic universe created by Frank Herbert, while new readers will be introduced to an incomparable imagination—a future where the fate of the entire cosmos is at stake.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Return to Dune

With Frank Herbert's death in 1986, the science fiction phenomenon known as the Dune series seemed fated to end with its sixth volume, Chapterhouse: Dune. However, Herbert's son Brian, working from his father's recently discovered files, now collaborates with bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson to give us the grand narrative themes, star-sweeping political tensions, and impassioned exploits of the original work in its prequel, Dune: House Atreides.

Some background -- or, depending on your current viewpoint, perhaps foreground -- first: Dune is the sprawling and intricate saga of the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, the very heart of a vast galactic empire and all its rebel factions. Dune is the only source of Melange, a spice that grants psychic powers and near-immortality to interstellar pilots. As per the Emperor's orders, Arrakis has traded hands from the violent Harkonnen to House Atreides. Led by the Baron, the Harkonnen scheme, subvert, and viciously murder most opposition in an effort to keep Arrakis for themselves. Eventually young Duke Paul Atreides is exiled on the planet's cruel surface and left to die. There he is rescued by the Fremen, a obscurely religious tribe of desert dwellers, is eventually renamed Muad'dib, and becomes the Fremen's leader in his attempt to regain the planet for House Atreides. Paul is not only mystically enhanced by the mysterious spice itself but might very well be a prophesied messiah.

Dune: House Atreides takes place four decades before the events of the first novel. Emperor Elrood IX of House Corrino, ruler of most of known space, sits upon the Golden Lion throne and orders planetologist Pardot Kynes to Arrakis to study the secrets of the addictive Melange. However, impatient to begin his own tyrannical reign, the Emperor's son, Shaddam, plots to kill his father with the aid of the assassin Hasimir Fenring. The Baron Harkonnen, still in charge of Arrakis and the production of Melange, must also counter the ploys of his enemies from the House Atreides. Paulus Atreides dispatches his teenage son, Leto (who will one day be father of Paul Maud'dib), to the mechanized planet Ix to learn what he can of advanced technology. The eight-year old Duncan Idaho, a slave who is stalked and tortured by his sadistic masters, eventually escapes and seeks his revenge. The religious order of Bene Gesserit "witches" works in secret to breed the "Kwisatz Haderach," a superhuman psychic child who can only be created through the manipulation of both Atreides and Harkonnen genes.

Few undertakings in the science fiction arena could present the formidable challenge that a prequel to Dune would pose. Frank Herbert's original novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, capturing the imaginations of readers all over the world and giving them a brand of SF that had never been known before. However, few could be better suited to accept the taxing trials than the team of Herbert and Anderson. Brian Herbert collaborated with his father on the elder's last published novel, Man of Two Worlds. Kevin J. Anderson, author of several Star Wars novels (Darksaber, The Emperor's Plague) and The X-Files novels (Ruins, Ground Zero), has already proven himself highly capable of writing within science fiction universes created by others. In finishing L. Ron Hubbard's Al! Pedrito! When Intelligence Goes Wrong, Anderson also confirmed that he could efficiently work from notes left behind by a true luminary of the science fiction genre.

The authors skillfully meet the demands set for them and continue the tradition of scope, complexity, and multilayered narrative threads. Dune: House Atreides manages to capture the majesty and intensity of Frank Herbert's fascinating and far-reaching epic. However, the authors are not merely expanding upon established story lines but are venturing forward into their own storytelling territory. Some of the series' most perplexing enigmas are answered, while other mysteries are uncovered. Adventurous, labyrinthine, and highly intriguing in its own right, Dune: House Atreides will garner a vast readership. Fans of the original novels will welcome any return to their beloved Arrakis, and new readers will wholeheartedly leap at the chance to delve into the mystical sands of Dune.

—Tom Piccirilli

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It was a daunting task to describe the origins and intricacies of the many feuds, alliances, schemes and prophesies of one of the most beloved SF novels ever written. Herbert, the son of Frank Herbert, who wrote the original Dune, and Anderson (coauthor, Ai Pedrito!, etc.) have met the challenge admirably. Within a web of relationships in which no act has simple or predictable consequences, they lay the foundations of the Dune saga. Duke Atreides and his son Leto are faced with an attack by their ancient rival, House Harkonnen. Eight-year-old Duncan Idaho strikes a small blow against the cruel Harkonnens by escaping their territory and defecting into the service of the duke. Emperor Elrood, Ruler of the Known Universe, takes vengeance on the machine planet Ix in retribution for a personal affront. Elrood, in turn, is maneuvered off the throne by his son Shaddam. The Bene Gesserits' 1000-year-old plan for breeding a perfect being--the Kwisatz Haderach--nears completion. And behind it all lies the harsh, desert world of Dune, the only planet in the known worlds to harbor the mysterious and powerful Spice, which everyone wants to control and one man, paleontologist Kynes, seeks to understand in his quest to make Dune flower again. Though the plot here is intricate, even readers new to the saga will be able to follow it easily (minute repetitions of important points help immensely), as the narrative weaves among the many interconnected tales. The attendant excitement and myriad revelations not only make this novel a terrific read in its own right but will inspire readers to turn, or return, to its great predecessor. (Oct.) FYI: Dune: House Atreides launches a proposed trilogy. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Revisit the planet called Dune decades before Frank Herbert's original Dune series. His son has used Herbert's files in collaboration with Anderson to produce this prequel set during the rule of Emperor Elrood IX. The style and sweeping drama are similar to the original. Dune fanatics will probably already have read this in hardback, but fans will rejoice at this edition, and newcomers may become interested enough to check out the original series or continue with the next edition by these two, the House Harkonnen "update." KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Bantam/Spectra, 681p, 18cm, 99-17726, $6.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Sherry S. Hoy; Libn., Tuscarora Jr. H.S., Mifflintown, PA January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
Library Journal
For those of us who think Frank Herbert should have been granted a divine dispensation by which he could write Dune stories in perpetuity, the publication last year of the series prequel, Dune: House Atreides, the first volume in a scheduled trilogy, was manna from heaven. Working from a cache of recently discovered character and plot notes, son and critically praised sf author Brian Herbert and Nebula Award nominee Anderson collaborate on this lush and textured cosmos and its complex sequence of events in the 40 years preceding the inaugural book, Dune. The epic dramas and intrigues interwoven among the numerous subplots are deftly handled and include the history behind the Atreides-Harkonnen feud; the attempts of Emperor Elrood's treacherous son, Shaddam, to usurp the throne; and the maligned and long-suffering slave boy, Duncan Idaho. This work is brilliantly performed by Tim Curry, whose honeyed and stentorian voice is matched in beautiful and elegant synchronicity with the prose. Verily, a gift on all levels, this is one of the stellar audiobook contributions of the season and is an obligatory acquisition for all libraries.--Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Magazine Editors People
Dune creator Frank Herbert died in 1986. In this gripping prequel cowritten by his son, many of the sci-fi series' most puzzling mysteries are explained.
The New York Times
Captures the sense of seriousness that distinguished the earlier books…Those of us who fondly remember the charged atmosphere and intellectual gravity of the Dune series will rejoice in this chance to return to one of science fiction's most appealing futures.
Kirkus Reviews
Since Frank Herbert, author of the mighty Dune series (ending with Chapterhouse: Dune, 1985) died in 1986, rumors have been circulating that his son Brian (Sudanna, Sudanna, 1985) would continue the saga. Finally, in collaboration with Anderson (Star Wars novels, X-files novels, thrillers, etc.) he has: the action of this prequel occurs several decades before that of Dune, the series opener. In a far-future galactic empire, everything from commerce and politics to interstellar travel and longevity depends on a miraculous spice, mélange, whose sole source is the desert planet Arrakis. The Emperor, Elrood IX of House Corrino, sends scientist Pardot Kynes to Arrakis to study its puzzling ecology. Elrood's son Shaddam, meanwhile, plots with the assassin Hasimir Fenring to murder his father, while simultaneously prodding the old emperor to conspire with the despised, genetic-whiz Tleilaxu to develop an artificial source of the spice. A young, lean Baron Harkonnen oversees Arrakis and spice production, while his deadly rival, Paulus Atreides, sends his son, 14-year-old Leto, to planet Ix to study its sophisticated machines. The manipulative Reverend Mothers of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood require both Harkonnen and Atreides genes to achieve their long-standing objective of breeding an omniscient psychic that they can control while remaining dependent on a poisonous spice-liquor to ignite ancestral memories. Undeniably, the authors have accepted a formidable challenge. So how does their effort stack up against Frank Herbert's originals? Well, the plotting's as devious and complicated if less subtle, and it's comparable in scope, with gratifying inventive touches. Still, thedisappointingly lightweight characters make for less powerful drama. In a word, satisfying: all Dune fans will want to investigate, newcomers will be tempted, and it should promote fresh interest in the magnificent original series. (Author tour)
From the Publisher
"[Fans] rejoice in this chance to return to one of science fiction's most appealing futures." —The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553897821
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/18/2003
  • Series: Prelude to Dune Series, #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 69,799
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Brian Herbert
Brian Herbert, the son of Frank Herbert, is the author of numerous acclaimed science fiction novels, including Sidney's Comet; Sudanna, Sudanna; Prisoners of Arrion; Race for God; and Man of Two Worlds (written with Frank Herbert). He has also written Dreamer of Dune, a comprehensive biography of his illustrious father.

Kevin J. Anderson has written twenty-five national bestsellers and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Reader's Choice Award. He also holds the Guinness world record for "Largest Single-Author Book Signing."

From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Melange is the financial crux of CHOAM activities. Without this spice, Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers could not perform feats of observation and human control, Guild Navigators could not see safe pathways across space, and billions of Imperial citizens would die of addictive withdrawal. Any simpleton knows that such dependence upon a single commodity leads to abuse. We are all at risk.

--CHOAM Economic Analysis of Materiel Flow Patterns
Lean and muscular, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen hunched forward next to the ornithopter pilot. He peered with spider-black eyes through the pitted windowplaz, smelling the ever-present grit and sand.

As the armored 'thopter flew high overhead, the white sun of Arrakis dazzled against unrelenting sands. The sweeping vista of dunes sizzling in the day's heat made his retinas burn. The landscape and sky were bleached of color. Nothing soothed the human eye.

Hellish place.

The Baron wished he could be back in the industrialized warmth and civilized complexity of Giedi Prime, the central world of House Harkonnen. Even stuck here, he had better things to do back at the local family headquarters in the city of Carthag, other diversions to suit his demanding tastes.

But the spice harvesting must take precedence. Always. Especially a huge strike such as the one his spotters had reported.

In the cramped cockpit, the Baron lounged with well-postured confidence, ignoring the buffet and sway of air currents. The 'thopter's mechanical wings beat rhythmically like a wasp's. The dark leather of his chestpiece fit tightly over well-toned pectorals. In his mid-forties, he had rakish good looks; his reddish gold hair had been cut and styled to exacting specifications, enhancing his distinctive widow's peak. The Baron's skin was smooth, his cheekbones high and well sculpted. Sinewy muscles stood out along his neck and jaw, ready to contort his face into a scowl or a hard smile, depending on circumstances.

"How much farther?" He looked sideways at the pilot, who had been showing signs of nervousness.

"The site is in the deep desert, m'Lord Baron. All indications are that this is one of the richest concentrations of spice ever excavated."

The flying craft shuddered on thermals as they passed over an outcropping of black lava rock. The pilot swallowed hard, focusing on the ornithopter's controls.

The Baron relaxed into his seat and quelled his impatience. He was glad the new hoard was far from prying eyes, away from Imperial or CHOAM corporate officials who might keep troublesome records. Doddering old Emperor Elrood IX didn't need to know every damned thing about Harkonnen spice production on Arrakis. Through carefully edited reports and doctored accounting journals, not to mention bribes, the Baron told the off-planet overseers only what he wanted them to know.

He swiped a strong hand across the sheen of sweat on his upper lip, then adjusted the 'thopter's environment controls to make the cockpit cooler, the air more moist.

The pilot, uncomfortable at having such an important and volatile passenger in his care, nudged the engines to increase speed. He checked the console's map projection again, studied outlines of the desert terrain that spread as far as they could see.

Having examined the cartographic projections himself, the Baron had been displeased by their lack of detail. How could anyone expect to find his way across this desert scab of a world? How could a planet so vital to the economic stability of the Imperium remain basically uncharted? Yet another failing of his weak younger demibrother, Abulurd.

But Abulurd was gone, and the Baron was in charge. Now that Arrakis is mine, I'll put everything in order. Upon returning to Carthag, he would set people to work drawing up new surveys and maps, if the damned Fremen didn't kill the explorers again or ruin the cartography points.

For forty years, this desert world had been the quasi-fief of House Harkonnen, a political appointment granted by the Emperor, with the blessing of the commercial powerhouse CHOAM--the Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles. Though grim and unpleasant, Arrakis was one of the most important jewels in the Imperial crown because of the precious substance it provided.

However, upon the death of the Baron's father, Dmitri Harkonnen, the old Emperor had, through some mental deficiency, granted the seat of power to the softhearted Abulurd, who had managed to decimate spice production in a mere seven years. Profits plunged, and he lost control to smugglers and sabotage. In disgrace, the fool had been yanked from his position and sent off without official title to Lankiveil, where even he could do little damage to the self-sustaining whale-fur activities there.

Immediately upon being granted the governorship, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen had set out to turn Arrakis around. He would make his own mark, erase the legacy of mistakes and bad judgment.

In all the Imperium, Arrakis--a hellhole that some might consider a punishment rather than a reward--was the only known source of the spice melange, a substance worth far more than any precious metal. Here on this parched world, it was worth even more than its weight in water.

Without spice, efficient space travel would be impossible ... and without space travel, the Imperium itself would fall. Spice prolonged life, protected health, and added a vigor to existence. The Baron, a moderate user himself, greatly appreciated the way it made him feel. Of course, the spice melange was also ferociously addictive, which kept the price high....

The armored 'thopter flew over a seared mountain range that looked like a broken jawbone filled with rotted teeth. Up ahead the Baron could see a dust cloud extending like an anvil into the sky.

"Those are the harvesting operations, m'Lord Baron."

Hawklike attack 'thopters grew from black dots in the monochrome sky and swooped toward them. The communicator pinged, and the pilot sent back an identification signal. The paid defenders--mercenaries with orders to keep out unwelcome observers--circled away and took up protective positions in the sky.

So long as House Harkonnen maintained the illusion of progress and profits, the Spacing Guild didn't need to know about every particular spice find. Nor did the Emperor, nor CHOAM. The Baron would keep the melange for himself and add it to his huge stockpiles.

After Abulurd's years of bumbling, if the Baron accomplished even half of what he was capable of, CHOAM and the Imperium would see a vast improvement. If he kept them happy, they wouldn't notice his substantial skim, would never suspect his secret spice stashes. A dangerous stratagem if discovered ... but the Baron had ways of dealing with prying eyes.

As they approached the plume of dust, he took out a pair of binoculars and focused the oil lenses. The magnification permitted him to see the spice factory at work. With its giant treads and enormous cargo capacity, the mechanical monstrosity was incredibly expensive--and worth every solari expended to maintain it. Its excavators kicked up cinnamon-red dust, gray sand, and flint chips as they dug down, scooping up the surface of the desert, sifting for aromatic spice.

Mobile ground units ranged across the open sand in the vicinity of the factory, dipping probes beneath the surface, scraping samples, mapping the extent of the buried spice vein. Overhead, heavier machinery borne by jumbo ornithopters circled, waiting. Peripherally, spotter craft cruised up and down the sands with alert watchers searching for the telltale ripples of wormsign. One of the great sandworms of Arrakis could swallow their entire operation whole.

"M'Lord Baron," the pilot said and handed the communicator wand over to him, "the captain of the work crew wishes to speak with you."

"This is your Baron." He touched his ear to listen to the pickup. "Give me an update. How much have you found?"

Below on the sands, the crew captain answered, his voice gruff, his manner annoyingly unimpressed with the importance of the man to whom he was speaking. "Ten years working spice crews, and this deposit's beyond anything I've ever seen. Trouble is, it's buried deep. Normally, you know, we find the spice exposed by the elements. This time it's densely concentrated, but ..."

The Baron waited for only a moment. "Yes, what is it?"

"Something strange going on here, sir. Chemically, I mean. We've got carbon dioxide leaking from below, some sort of a bubble beneath us. The harvester's digging through outer layers of sand to get at the spice, but there's also water vapor."

"Water vapor!" Such a thing was unheard-of on Arrakis, where the moisture content of the air was nearly unmeasurable, even on the best of days.

"Could have stumbled on an ancient aquifer, sir. Maybe buried under a cap of rock."

The Baron had never imagined finding running water beneath the surface of Arrakis. Quickly he considered the possibilities of exploiting a free-flowing water resource by selling it to the populace. That was sure to upset the existing water merchants, who had grown too swollen with self-importance anyway.

His basso voice rumbled. "Do you think it's contaminating the spice somehow?"

"Not able to say, sir," said the crew captain. "Spice is strange stuff, but I've never seen a pocket like this before. It doesn't seem ... right somehow."

The Baron looked over at the 'thopter pilot. "Contact the spotters. See if they've picked up any wormsign yet."

"No wormsign, m'Lord," the pilot said, scanning the reply. The Baron noticed sparkles of sweat on the man's forehead.

"How long has the harvester been down there?"

"Nearly two standard hours, sir."

Now the Baron scowled. One of the worms should definitely have come before now.

Inadvertently, the pilot had left the comsystem open, and the crew captain gruffly acknowledged over the speaker. "Never had this much time either, sir. The worms always come. Always. But something's going on down here. Gases are increasing. You can smell it in the air."

Taking a deep breath of the recycled cabin air, the Baron detected the musky cinnamon smell of raw melange scooped from the desert. The ornithopter flew in a holding pattern now, several hundred meters from the main harvester.

"We're also detecting vibrations underground, some kind of a resonance. I don't like it, sir."

"You're not paid to like it," the Baron replied. "Is it a deep worm?"

"I don't think so, sir."

He scanned the estimates being transmitted from the spice harvester. The numbers boggled his mind. "We're getting as much from this one excavation as a month's production on my other sites." He drummed his fingers on his right thigh in a rhythmic pattern.

"Nevertheless, sir, I suggest that we prepare to pack up and abandon the site. We could lose--"

"Absolutely not, Captain," the Baron said. "There's no wormsign, and you've already got nearly a full factory load. We can bring down a carryall and give you an empty harvester if you need it. I'm not leaving behind a fortune in spice just because you're getting nervous ... just because you have an uneasy feeling. Ridiculous!"

When the work leader tried to push his point, the Baron interrupted, "Captain, if you're a nervous coward, you're in the wrong profession and in the employ of the wrong House. Carry on." He switched off the communicator and made a mental note to remove that man from his position as soon as possible.

Carryalls hovered above, ready to retrieve the spice harvester and its crew as soon as a worm appeared. But why was it taking so long for one to come? Worms always protected the spice.

Spice. He tasted the word in his thoughts and on his lips.

Veiled in superstition, the substance was an unknown quantity, a modern unicorn's-horn. And Arrakis was inhospitable enough that no one had yet deciphered the origin of melange. In the vast canvas of the Imperium, no explorer or prospector had found melange on any other planet, nor had anyone succeeded in synthesizing a substitute, despite centuries of attempts. Since House Harkonnen held the planetary governorship of Arrakis, and therefore controlled all spice production, the Baron had no wish to see a substitute developed, or any other source found.

Expert desert crews located the spice, and the Imperium used it--but beyond that, the details didn't concern him. There was always risk to spice workers, always the danger that a worm would attack too soon, that a carryall would malfunction, that a spice factory would not be lifted away in time. Unexpected sandstorms could come up with startling speed. The casualty rate and the equipment losses to House Harkonnen were appalling ... but melange paid off nearly any cost in blood or money.

As the ornithopter circled in a steady, thrumming rhythm, the Baron studied the industrial spectacle below. Baking sun glinted off the spice factory's dusty hull. Spotters continued to prowl the air, while groundcars cruised beneath them, taking samples.

Still no sign of a worm, and every moment allowed the crew to retrieve more spice.The workers would receive bonuses--except for that captain--and House Harkonnen would become richer. The records could be doctored later.

The Baron turned to the pilot. "Call our nearest base. Summon another carryall and another spice factory. This vein seems inexhaustible." His voice trailed off. "If a worm hasn't shown up by now, there just might be time...."

The ground crew captain called back, broadcasting on a general frequency since the Baron had shut down his own receiver. "Sir, our probes indicate that the temperature is rising deep below--a dramatic spike! Something's going on down there, a chemical reaction. And one of our ground-roving teams just broke into a swarming nest of sandtrout."

The Baron growled, furious with the man for communicating on an unencrypted channel. What if CHOAM spies were listening? Besides, no one cared about sandtrout. The jellylike creatures deep beneath the sand were as irrelevant to him as flies swarming around a long-abandoned corpse.

He made a mental note to do more to this weakling captain than just remove him from the work crews and deny him a bonus. That gutless bastard was probably handpicked by Abulurd.

The Baron saw tiny figures of scouts tracking through the sands, running about like ants maddened with acid vapor. They rushed back to the main spice factory. One man leaped off his dirt-encrusted rover and scrambled toward the open door of the massive machine.

"What are those men doing? Are they abandoning their posts? Bring us down closer so I can see."

The pilot tilted the ornithopter and descended like an ominous beetle toward the sand. Below, the men leaned over, coughing and retching as they tried to drag filters over their faces. Two stumbled on the shifting sand. Others were rapidly battening down the spice factory.

"Bring the carryall! Bring the carryall!" someone cried.

The spotters all reported in. "I see no wormsign."

"Still nothing."

"All clear from here," said a third.

"Why are they evacuating?" the Baron demanded, as if the pilot would know.

"Something's happening," the crew captain

The ground bucked. Four workers stumbled and pitched facefirst onto the sand before they could reach the ramp to the spice factory.

"Look, m'Lord!" The pilot pointed downward, his voice filled with awe. As the Baron stopped focusing on the cowardly men, he saw the sand trembling all around the excavation site, vibrating like a struck drumhead.

The spice harvester canted, slipped to one side. A crack opened in the sands, and the whole site began to swell from beneath the ground, rising in the air like a gas bubble in a boiling Salusan mudpot.

"Get us out of here!" the Baron shouted. The pilot stared for a fraction of a second, and the Baron swept his left hand with the speed of a cracked whip, striking the man hard on the cheek. "Move!"

The pilot grabbed the 'thopter controls and wrenched them into a steep ascent. The articulated wings flapped furiously.

On the terrain below, the swollen underground bubble reached its apex--then burst, hurling the spice harvester, the mobile crews, and everything else up off the surface. A gigantic explosion of sand sprayed upward, carrying broken rock and volatile orange spice. The mammoth factory was crushed and blasted to pieces, scattered like lost rags in a Coriolis storm.

"What the devil happened?" The Baron's dark eyes went wide in disbelief at the sheer magnitude of the disaster. All that precious spice gone, swallowed in an instant. All the equipment destroyed. The loss in lives hardly occurred to him, except for the wasted costs of crew training.

"Hang on, m'Lord," the pilot cried. His knuckles turned white on the controls.

A hammer-blast of wind struck them. The armored ornithopter turned end over end in the air, wings flailing. The engines whined and groaned, trying to maintain stability. Pellets of high-velocity sand struck the plaz windowports. Dust-clogged, the 'thopter's motors made sick, coughing sounds. The craft lost altitude, dropping toward the seething maw of the desert.

The pilot shouted unintelligible words. The Baron clutched his crash restraints, saw the ground coming toward them like an inverted bootheel to squash an insect.

As head of House Harkonnen, he had always thought he would die by a treacherous assassin's hand ... but to fall prey to an unpredictable natural disaster instead--the Baron found it almost humorous.

As they plunged, he saw the sand open like a festering sore. The dust and raw melange were being sucked down, turned over by convection currents and chemical reactions. The rich spice vein of only moments before had turned into a leprous mouth ready to swallow them.

But the pilot, who had seemed weak and distractible during their flight, became rigid with concentration and determination. His fingers flew over sky rudder and engine throttle controls, working to ride the currents, switching flow from one motor to another to discharge dust strangulation in the air intakes.

Finally the ornithopter leveled off, steadied itself again, and cruised low over the dune plain. The pilot emitted an audible sigh of relief.

Where the great opening had been ripped into the layered sand, the Baron now saw glittering translucent shapes like maggots on a carcass: sandtrout, rushing toward the explosion. Soon giant worms would come, too. The monsters couldn't possibly resist this.

Try as he might, the Baron couldn't understand spice. Not at all.

The 'thopter gained altitude, taking them toward the spotters and the carryalls that had been caught unawares. They hadn't been able to retrieve the spice factory and its precious cargo before the explosion, and he could blame no one for it--no one but himself. The Baron had given them explicit orders to remain out of reach.

"You just saved my life, pilot. What is your name?"

"Kryubi, sir."

"All right, then, Kryubi--have you ever seen such a thing? What happened down there? What caused that explosion?"

The pilot took a deep breath. "I've heard the Fremen talking about something they call a ... spice blow." He seemed like a statue now, as if the terror had transformed him into something much stronger. "It happens in the deep desert, where few people can see."

"Who cares what the Fremen say?" He curled his lip at the thought of the dirty, nomadic indigents of the great desert. "We've all heard of spice blows, but nobody's ever actually seen one. Crazy superstitions."

"Yes, but superstition usually has some kind of basis. They see many things out in the desert." Now the Baron admired the man for his willingness to speak out, though Kryubi must know of his temper and vindictiveness. Perhaps it would be wise to promote him....

"They say a spice blow is a chemical explosion," Kryubi continued, "probably the result of a pre-spice mass beneath the sands."

The Baron considered this; he couldn't deny the evidence of his own eyes. One day maybe someone would understand the true nature of melange and be able to prevent disasters like this. So far, because the spice was seemingly inexhaustible to those willing to make the effort, no one had bothered with a detailed analysis. Why waste time on tests, when fortunes waited to be made? The Baron had a monopoly on Arrakis--but it was also a monopoly based on ignorance.

He gritted his teeth and knew that once they returned to Carthag he would be forced to blow off some steam, to release his pent-up tensions on "amusements," perhaps a bit more vigorously than he had earlier intended. He would have to find a special candidate this time--not one of his regular lovers, but someone he would never have use for again. That would free him of restraint.

Looking down, he thought, No longer any need to hide this site from the Emperor. They would record it, log it as a find, and document the destruction of the crew and equipment. No need to manipulate the records now. Old Elrood would not be pleased, and House Harkonnen would have to absorb this financial setback.

As the pilot circled around, the surviving spice crew assessed their damages on the ground, and over the comlink reported losses of men, equipment, and spice load. The Baron felt rage boiling within him.

Damn Arrakis! he thought. Damn the spice, and damn our dependence on it!

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Inventing History for Dune
When Frank Herbert first created the Dune universe almost four decades ago, he placed his story on a canvas that spanned more than 20,000 years. A masterpiece of world building and history, Dune is richly detailed, full of characters and cultures, clearly giving the impression that the author knows much more than he's letting on.

One of the most tantalizing events mentioned in all six of Frank Herbert's Dune novels is the Butlerian Jihad, a titanic conflict of humans against thinking machines, which serves as the genesis for many of the familiar ingredients in Dune. This fascinating part of Dune history is the single event most hotly anticipated by Frank Herbert fans.

After completing three immediate prequels to Dune -- House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and House Corrino -- we reawakened the fervor for Frank Herbert's grand history. Many readers have returned to the original novels, and new fans have picked up the books. Our first prequel trilogy features all familiar characters and events, leading directly into Dune.

For The Butlerian Jihad, we had to travel back 10,000 years before the events in the original story. This posed a difficult, but entertaining, challenge -- to create an original universe, building our own characters and events, yet one that captures the flavor and essence of Dune.

Armed with Frank Herbert's unpublished notes and background material, we had some important clues to the events of the Butlerian Jihad, but none of the extensive details. Building on this material, The Butlerian Jihad answers the most vital questions fans have been asking: the circumstances behind the great betrayal that made mortal enemies of House Atreides and House Harkonnen, the foundations of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, as well as the creation of the Order of Mentats, the Suk doctors, the Swordmasters of Ginaz, and the Spacing Guild. We also show the dramatic struggle of the oppressed Zensunni Wanderers who escape their bondage and flee to an uncharted desert world, where they settle among the spice and sandworms and declare themselves "Free men" of Dune. Readers will recognize some familiar names and meet new friends and enemies.

Because The Butlerian Jihad is so far removed from the original classic novel, we felt we had a greater freedom but also a greater responsibility. We are opening a new chapter in this grand history, yet it must be familiar enough to belong beside the other Dune novels. We created a new set of characters that we found remarkable in their own right -- the half-machine tyrant Agamemnon and his brainwashed son Vorian Atreides, the dedicated free human Xavier Harkonnen, the genius scientist Tio Holtzman, and of course the incomparable heroine, Serena Butler. The independent robot Erasmus -- whom Publishers Weekly calls "a Thinking Machine Hannibal Lecter with whimsical Mr. Spock-ish meditations" -- is probably the best villain either of us has ever concocted. The Butlerian Jihad is just the first of a projected trilogy. Frank Herbert has left us a vast landscape to explore, but at least we have a map. We still have a lot more history to create. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 99 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2003

    Prelude to Dune stands on its own merits

    Dune: House Atreides, the first of three books leading up to the events of the original Dune series, successfully (re)introduces the characters and themes of the Frank Herbert books, although it is burdened by the legacy the classic Dune books have left behind. Brian Herbert, a most gentle and honorable soul I have had the pleasure of meeting on a couple of occasions at book signings, and Kevin J. Anderson, have undertaken an almost impossible task in trying to fill out the missing story lines of the original books. To those who quip that they are just out to make an easy buck, know that this undertaking was not done in haste, and no decision was taken lightly. Brian and Kevin have done their homework and their goal is to finish the story. But to do so requires telling us what lead up to the events in Dune. Creating the 1000 page Dune Concordance used as their Dune encyclopedia, and writing 1800 pages plus to get to the point of being able to finish the Dune story line, not to mention a probably detour to the Butlerian Jihad events 10000 years earlier, is no way to go about making an easy buck! Both authors are accomplished writers who did not need to take on such a tremendous challenge. Yet they have, and although I think the story gets off to a slow start, the last 300 pages made it hard to put the book down. Although one who has read the original books will be familiar with the characters, the story in House Atreides is well enough written to keep the reader's interest, and keep one wondering how things will play out. The authors follow a number of plot threads that generally coalesce into one thread that is followed at the end. My one complaint would be that early on the story line tends to jump around just a little too much. I would have liked to see a little longer spells following one plot or another. Perhaps this clearer focus later on made the book a more gripping read for me as I turned the pages. Having not read the original Dune since the mid 1980's, and only having been able to 'catch' up with Frank Herbert's later Dune books because he sadly passed away - he seemed to write them far faster than I could read them - I cannot easily compare this new book with the original. However, I do not feel compelled to do so either. House Atreides stands on its own merits. It is a book that new fans can enjoy, and old fans should be able to as well. It cannot be as original as the original - that's just the nature of things - but that does not lessen the quality of the book. As the authors become more comfortable with the Dune world they are writing about/in, and their storyline becomes more developed I suspect the future offerings, House Harkonnen, and then House Corrino, will be even more compelling reads. I recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2000

    A fair attempt

    The original Dune series was enigmatic and challenging. It demanded that the readers pay attention and draw connections that Frank Herbert did not always make immediately clear. With House Atriedes the treatment of the characters and subject is too light and entirely too elementary. I respect the challenge that young Herbert faces following in his father's tracks but I was disappointed in the lack of depth.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2000

    Dune for Idiots

    This is probably the worst prequel or sci-fi book that i have finished reading. After 100 pages I felt like returning this back to the public library. It is full of inconsistencies & hollow themes. Whereas Dune was a philosophical novel, this is a story for book of the month club. Here are some things I found awkward: 1)Duncan Idaho killing off a few Harkoneen house troops at age 8? I mean, get real, how pathetic is that house? 2)The Thielex did not have ghola tanks until thousands of years after Leto 11, and there were no 'no-ships' either. 3)That snot nose kid twin who is pampered & then becomes a 'genius' creating a trans-stellar link to his naviator brother, come on! 4)Pardot Kienes instantly becoming a 'prophet' in a nomadic intergroup of Fremen, unplausible at best! 5)House Atreides' economy relies on fish, sandals, and rice but it's still a great house compared to Ix that manufactures advanced components, think about it, 3rd world vs Silicon Valley...who will win? 6)The treatment of the aristocrats and the suboids revolt on Ix was just too much to bear, come on, are we supposed to support that puke kid & his snob sister all while the suboids are suffering? And the takeover of the world in a few days after the author told us how 'advanced & wealthy Ix was'. There were other inconsistencies, unbelievable truths, and half hearted attempts on the part of the authors to create a Dune world, but they failed, and failed miserably!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2014


    This book is set 10,148 years after te Mentats of Dune. Although this was good, so far it has been my least favorite( dethroning MoD). The story was interesting, but the writing was somewhat awkward. This was as well written as the 5 previous novels and I found myself dozing off in some parts of tthe book. I enjoyed reading about PE Elrood IX and Duke Paulus, but the rest the story was somewht flat, and you can certainly tell that is the 1st DUNE book that these two wrote, it was still good but I only give it a 80 % C.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013


    Is here

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Loved it

    Read it once and loved it. Rereading it in chronological order with the entire series makes it a even better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Classic Dune

    If you're a fan of the Dune series you won't be disappointed by House Atredies.

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    House Atreides, House trilogy (prelude to Dune), Book 1

    Coming soon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    Good Intro into the World of Dune

    Book fills in the early life of the Old Duke and establishes how he came to be. Must read if you are a Dune fan, or just want to know more about Duke Atreides.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2007

    A page turner/massive info

    This book is a must read for anyone interested in the world of Dune. Mush history is explained so you better understand teh book Dune. I am now in the middle of House Harkonnen and it is just as full of insight into the original book Dune. A must read trilogy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2004


    When I first read the last of the original Dune series I thought that it was all over and that there were some questions that would never be answered. Then, when I heard about a whole new series of Dune books I was hyped to say the least. The series of 'House' books really add something to the originals. Are the better than the elder Herbert's novels? Most assuredly not but at the same time the stories are fresh and they also give the readers an idea of what was going on before and up to Paul Atreides' birth. One of the best plots is the study of Leto Atreides and his relationship with his father and mother. I find it fascinating how alike and diffrent Leto's relationship with his mom and dad is to Paul's relationship with Leto and the Lady Jessica. We also see the back stories of Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho that was only hinted at in the movie and miniseries. I have to give a big thumbs up to this undertaking, and while I can't say that I feel the same about the Machine chronicles of Dune, I will say that the authors are right on the money with this trilogy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2003

    A very different feel to the original Dune saga

    I read this book when it first came out, after already having read the original Dune saga years before. At first, I was disconcerted by how different the voices of the two authors are from Frank Herbert's own, which seemed almost hypnotic at times, and full of hidden meaning. In any case, this book focused on the nitty-gritty of life in those times, of the details of how things were staged for Frank's coming saga. Though I yearned to hear his voice coming through, after all, why I picked up the book in the first place, I have to say that this book had its own compelling rhythm. While not set with the deep, resonating prophetic tones of the original series, I found the fleshing out of the Dune world by these two very satisfying, offering a view into the rich history Frank used as a tapestry for his own excellent series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    Dune: House Atreides (Prelude to Dune Series #1)

    I've seen alot of comparison between this and the original 'Dune' novels, but I think people need to accept that Brian Herbert is NOT his father, and he will NEVER BE his father. This is still an excellent book. Also some changes have been made, for instance this is (so far as I can tell) the first mention of the Butlerian Jihad as a time of 'freeing humanity' from thinking machines, in the original novels it seemed to merely be a time when some over zealous freaks got together and said 'Hey, let's all go out and destroy any thinking machines we can find.' On that note at least this book is more realistic. Also some changes have been made in the technology legally allowed, but that only makes since. In the time of the original 'Dune' banning 'thinking machines' for fear they could take over the universe would seem to mean computers in general. But readers in the new millinium would understand basic computers couldn't possibly do that, it would take full-blown AI technology. And while many people complain about the 'No-Ship' I feel the sheer confusion it creates lives up to Franks Herbert's saying 'wheels within wheels within wheels' so well it's easily excusable. The only problem I've found is they use lasguns to much (they were suppose to be virtually taboo), but I suppose that's o.k.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2003

    Dune: House Atreides (Prelude to Dune Series #1)

    O.k., I've seen alot of unfair judgements about this book, let me make a few things clear that other so-called 'Dune' fans must have missed: 1. While there was a good deal more AI technology in this book than in the original 'Dune', it was frowned upon because of the Butlerian Jihad. Furthermore when Frank Herbert wrote his book the idea of computers taking over the universe seemed reasonable. But now readers realize that we're not about to be taken over by our microwave oven, and only full-blown AI technology could do that, so we can allow for some grey areas like the Meks. 2. Yes, some characters are flat, so was Gurney Hallek from the original Dune, but we excused him. 3. The No-Ship was discovered at this point, but then lost for thousands of years. It seems a bit silly that it had the same name as it did in Leto's time, but it's still excusable if you say the Ixians probably found some plans on Richese that had been left behind by the inventor. All and all this is a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2002

    Lucas needs to read this trilogy

    Great Representation, Characters and story... Lucas could learn how to write a trilogy correctly from this..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2002

    Lives up to expectations.

    This book is great! I never thought that there would be a prequel, but I am determind to read all of the Dune books now, written by both Frank and Brian Herbert. You have to read it yourself to understand and believe it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    House Atreides excellent Prequel

    I have only recently gotten into any of the Dune books, and I must say, I can't get enough! After reading the original Dune, I went and bought all 6 of the original series. When looking, I saw House Atreides and bought it too. While the style is a little different, all the characters, places, and more that I love from the other Dune books are there. I have already read all of the books published except House Corrino. All of the Dune series books are excellent reading choices! I can't wait for Herbert and Anderson to write more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2002

    Great start to a prequel

    I read the other Dune books before I read House Atriedes, so that I would understand the characters a bit more. The book is a good read, and it answers some of the questions from Dune, that Frank Herbert couldn't answer yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2002

    Better than expected

    I wasn't sure I was going to like this novel as it wasn't written by Frank Herbert. It was a delight to read. It's nice to have a fleshed out history for the characters that I enjoyed reading about in the original Dune and subsequent sequels. The style is somewhat different than Frank's style and that's okay. I read it in a couple of evenings. Well worth the time. I recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2001

    An Insightfull Prelude to Dune

    Any Dune fan would leap at antoher chance to explore the world that Frank Herbert has so masterfully crafted. Dune is an intriging world, and this book is a look at the actions and lives preceding Herbert's book. Although lacking in the power and rich language Herbert weilded, Atreides House was very interesting, and very insightfull for those working off the scant and breif summaries included in the appendix of Dune. I commend the authors for their work, this book is very interesting though a spectacle for the slightest critisism. A great Adventure

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