Dune: House Harkonnen (Prelude to Dune Series #2)

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Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson return to the vivid universe of Frank Herbert’s Dune, bringing a vast array of rich and complex characters into conflict to shape the destiny of worlds....

As Shaddam sits at last on the Golden Lion Throne, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen plots against the new Emperor and House Atreides — and against the mysterious Sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit. For Leto Atreides, grown complacent and comfortable as ruler of his House, it is a time of momentous ...

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Dune: House Harkonnen (Prelude to Dune Series #2)

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Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson return to the vivid universe of Frank Herbert’s Dune, bringing a vast array of rich and complex characters into conflict to shape the destiny of worlds....

As Shaddam sits at last on the Golden Lion Throne, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen plots against the new Emperor and House Atreides — and against the mysterious Sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit. For Leto Atreides, grown complacent and comfortable as ruler of his House, it is a time of momentous choice: between friendship and duty, safety and destiny. But for the survival of House Atreides, there is just one choice — strive for greatness or be crushed.

Dune: House Harkonnen continues the unforgettable saga begun in Dune: House Atreides, as a vast array of rich and complex figures strives to shape a sprawling universe of mystery and vivid universe revealed in the thrilling pages of Frank Herbert's Dune.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Our Review
All Eyes on Arrakis
Here, in Dune: House Harkonnen, the second prequel novel (following Dune: House Atreides) to the classic Frank Herbert Dune series, Herbert's son Brian again collaborates with bestselling science fiction novelist Kevin J. Anderson to give us the complex plots, immense political tensions, sprawling cast, and high-action sequences of the original Dune works.

Dune is the 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 ruler of a galaxy-spanning empire, Shaddam IV of House Corrino continues to use his influence, assassins, and allies to keep an iron grip on his Peacock Throne. Duke Dominic Vernius, onetime leader on the mechanized planet Ix, smuggles spice, while his children, Rhombur and Kailea, remain on Caladan as guests of the Leto Atreides. Leto and Kailea have an affair that produces a son, Victor, but their relationship is filled with hidden intent and betrayal. The mystical order of Bene Gesserit witches continue to work in secret in order to breed the "Kwisatz Haderach," a superhuman psychic child that can only be created through the manipulation of both Atreides and Harkonnen genes.

The childless Baron Harkonnen, now suffering the effects of a disfiguring illness devised by the Bene Gesserit, calls back his outcast brother Abulurd in order to ensure the future of House Harkonnen. Abulurd, the only Harkonnen who retains his gentleness and integrity, lives out his existence on an ice planet as his own two evil sons join the baron in his schemes. Eventually, Leto falls in love with the Bene Gesserit Jessica without ever realizing that Jessica is to give birth to a daughter who will mate with a Harkonnen and bear the Kwisatz Haderach.

Once again, Herbert and Anderson prove that they're not only capable of extrapolating events from the original Dune series but are also extremely skilled at continuing the tradition of a visionary, multilayered narrative. This novel brims with emotionally charged, muscular prose and a wealth of absorbing subplots. The authors are completely at ease with the enthralling material as they achieve the grandeur and profound depth of Frank Herbert's captivating and far-reaching epic saga. Audacious, labyrinthine, and wonderfully readable in its own right, Dune: House Harkonnen will garner a vast readership for this prequel trilogy. Fans of the original Frank Herbert novels will welcome their return to planet Arrakis, and new readers will enthusiastically enter into the mysterious sands of Dune.

--Tom Piccirilli

Tom Piccirilli is the author of eight novels, including Hexes and Shards, and his Felicity Grove mystery series, consisting of The Dead Past and Sorrow's Crown. He has sold more than 100 stories to the anthologies Future Crimes, Bad News, The Conspiracy Files, and Best of the American West II. An omnibus collection of 40 stories titled Deep into That Darkness Peering has just been released by Terminal Fright Press. Tom divides his time between New York City and Estes Park, Colorado.

To quote KLIATT's March 2001 review of the Bantam Doubleday Dell audiobook: Even if the Sci Fi Channel had not recently produced the Dune mini-series, Dune: House Harkonnen would still command high interest. 1999's Dune: House Atreides only whet the appetite. Though these prequels can be considered revisionist history, since we already know what will happen, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson segue into Frank Herbert's dreams without missing a beat. The title implies a focus around House Harkonnen. We do learn how much evil lurks in the hearts of men and how deeply hate and greed run. But we also watch, with pleasure and anticipation, as Leto Atreides grows into manhood in both body and mind. We watch as his retinue expands to include Dune's familiar characters.... The only frustration is that the series is not yet concluded. Highly recommended. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Bantam, Spectra, 736p. maps., $6.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Jodi L. Israel; MLS, Jamaica Plain, MA , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
Library Journal
As the young Duke Leto Atreides seeks to live up to his late father's expectations, his rivals plot to bring about the downfall of House Atreides. Plots and counterplots involving the debauched Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, his Bene Gesserit enemies, and the treacherous schemers of the enigmatic Bene Tleilax escalate the tension among factions of a fragile galactic empire. Though power seems to reside in the hands of the emperor and his elite armies, the fate of many worlds hinges on the destiny of a single planet--the desert world known as Arrakis, or Dune. Continuing the story begun in Dune: House Atreides (LJ 10/15/99), coauthors Herbert and Anderson reveal the prehistory of the late Frank Herbert's classic Dune novels. Strong characterizations, consistent plotting, and rich detail provide this second of a trilogy of prequels with the same evocative power of the original novels. Libraries should anticipate a demand from old series fans as well as newcomers to the world of Dune. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/00.] Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
From The Critics
Herbert's son pairs with author Anderson to write the second book in the trilogy prequel, this exploring Leto Atreides, Jessica and Duncan Idaho on their individual and collective journeys through their Dune world. This expands wonderfully and logically the prior Dune novels created by Herbert and adds new dimension and adventures. Dune fans will find this involving and engrossing.
Kirkus Reviews
Second installment of the authors' prequel (Dune: House Atreides, 1999) to Frank Herbert's mighty Dune series. In the farfuture galactic empire ruled by House Corrino's Shaddam IV, the geneticwhiz, pariah Tleilaxu continue their occupation of the machine planet Ix. The exiled Ixian leader Dominic Vernius smuggles melange, the miraculous spice produced by Dune's giant sandworms; unaware of Dominic's fate, his children, Rhombur and Kailea, are guests of Duke Leto Atreides on Caladan, where they plot revenge. Against his better judgment, Leto takes Kailea as his mistress; she bears him a son, Victor, but soon the relationship sours. Warriortroubadour Gurney Halleck, first a slave on the Harkonnen home world Giedi Prime, escapes and joins Dominic. Duncan Idaho studies the art of swordplay on Ginaz. The evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen learns that the Bene Gesserit witches are to blame for his debilitating and disfiguring illness. The baron's nephew, Beast Rabban, murders his gentle, wellmeaning parents. Shaddam's assassinconfidante, Hasimir Fenring, conspires with the Tleilaxu to develop an artificial source of melange. And Leto takes Jessica, a Bene Gesserit, as his concubine, unaware that Jessica's secret orders are to bear him a daughter who eventually will mate with FeydRautha Harkonnen to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, the superman who can see both past and future.
From the Publisher
"Strong characterizations, consistent plotting, and rich detail provide this second of a trilogy of prequels with the same evocative power of the original novels." —Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553580303
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Series: Prelude to Dune Series, #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 752
  • Sales rank: 205,054
  • Product dimensions: 6.86 (w) x 4.16 (h) x 1.26 (d)

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 Arionn; The Race for God (a Nebula Award nominee); 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-six national bestsellers and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stroker Award, and the SFX Reader's Choice Award. He also set the Guinness world record for "Largest Single-Author Book Signing."

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Read an Excerpt

When the sandstorm came howling up from south, Pardot Kynes was more interested in taking meteorological readings than in seeking safety. His son Liet — only twelve years old, but raised in the harsh ways of the desert — ran an appraising eye over the ancient weather pod they had found in the abandoned botanical testing station. He was not confident the machine would function at all.

Then Liet gazed back across the sea of dunes toward the approaching tempest. “The wind of the demon in the open desert. Hulasikali Wala.”

“Coriolis storm,” Kynes corrected, using a scientific term instead of the Fremen one his son had selected. “Winds across the open flatlands are amplified by the planet’s revolutionary motion. Gusts can reach speeds up to seven hundred kilometers per hour.”

As his father talked, the young man busied himself sealing the egg-shaped weather pod, checking the vent closures, the heavy doorway hatch, the stored emergency supplies. He ignored their signal generator and distress beacon; the static from the sandstorm would rip any transmissions to electromagnetic shreds.

In pampered societies Liet would have been considered a boy, but life among the hard-edged Fremen had given him a tightly coiled adulthood that few others achieved even at twice his age. He was better equipped to handle an emergency than his father.

The elder Kynes scratched his sandy-gray beard. “A good storm like this can stretch across four degrees of latitude.” He powered up the dim screens of the pod’s analytical devices. “It lifts particles to an altitude of two thousand meters and suspends them in the atmosphere, so that long after the storm passes, dust continues to fall from the sky.”

Liet gave the hatch lock a final tug, satisfied that it would hold against the storm. “The Fremen call that El-Sayal, the ‘rain of sand.’”

“One day when you become Planetologist, you’ll need to use more technical language,” Pardot Kynes said in a professorial tone. “We still send the Emperor occasional reports, though not as often as I should. I doubt he ever reads them.” He tapped one of the instruments. “Ah, I believe the atmospheric front is almost upon us.”

Liet removed a porthole cover to see the oncoming wall of white, tan, and static. “A Planetologist must use his eyes, as well as scientific language. Just look out the window, Father.”

Kynes grinned at his son. “It’s time to raise the pod.” Operating long-dormant controls, he managed to get the dual bank of suspensor engines functioning. The pod tugged against gravity, heaving itself off the ground.

The mouth of the storm lunged toward them, and Liet closed the cover plate, hoping the ancient meteorological apparatus would hold together. He trusted his father’s intuition to a certain extent, but not his practicality.

The egg-shaped pod rose smoothly on suspensors, buffeted by precursor breezes. “Ah, there we are,” Kynes said. “Now our work begins — ”

The storm hit them like a blunt club, and vaulted them high into the maelstrom.

The pod’s ancient suspensors hummed against the Coriolis howl like a nest of angry wasps. The meteorological vessel bounced on swirling currents of air, a steel-walled balloon. Wind-borne dust scoured the hull.

“This reminds me of the aurora storms I saw on Salusa Secundus,” Kynes mused. “Amazing things — very colorful and very dangerous. The hammer-wind can come up from out of nowhere and crush you flat. You wouldn’t want to be caught outside.”

“I don’t want to be outside in this one, either,” Liet said.

Stressed inward, one of the side plates buckled; air stole through the breach with a thin shriek. Liet lurched across the deck toward the leak. He’d kept the repair kit and foam sealant close at hand, certain the decrepit pod would rupture. “We are held in the hand of God, and could be crushed at any moment.”

“That’s what your mother would say,” the Planetologist said without looking up from the skeins of information pouring through the recording apparatus into an old datapack. “Look, a gust clocked at eight hundred kilometers per hour!” His voice carried no fear, only excitement. “What a monster storm!”

Liet looked up from the stone-hard sealant he had slathered over the thin crack. The squealing sound of leaking air faded, replaced by a muffled hurricane din.

“If we were outside, this wind would scour the flesh off our bones.”

Kynes pursed his lips. “Quite likely true, but you must learn to express yourself objectively and quantitatively. ‘Scour the flesh off our bones’ is not a phrasing one would include in a report to the Emperor.”

The battering wind, the scraping sand, and the roar of the storm reached a crescendo; then, with a burst of pressure inside the survey pod, it all broke into a bubble of silence. Liet blinked, swallowing hard to clear his ears and throat. Intense quiet throbbed in his skull. Through the hull of the creaking vessel, he could still hear Coriolis winds like whispered voices in a nightmare.

“We’re in the eye.” Glowing with delight, Pardot Kynes stepped away from his instruments. “A sietch at the center of the storm, a refuge where you would least expect it.”

Blue static discharges crackled around them, sand and dust rubbing together to generate electromagnetic fields. “I would prefer to be back in the sietch right now,” Liet admitted.

The meteorological pod drifted along in the eye, safe and silent after the intense battering of the storm wall. Confined together in the small vessel, the two had a chance to talk, as father and son.

But they didn’t....

Ten minutes later they struck the opposite sandstorm wall, thrown back into the insane flow with a glancing blow of the dust-thick winds. Liet stumbled and held on; his father managed to maintain his footing. The vessel’s hull vibrated and rattled.

Kynes looked at his controls, at the floor, and then at his son. “I’m not sure what to do about this. The suspensors are” — with a lurch, they began to plunge, as if their safety rope had been severed — “failing.”

Liet held himself against an eerie weightlessness as the crippled pod dropped toward the ground, which lay obscured by dusty murk. As they tumbled in the air, the Planetologist continued to work the controls.

The haphazard suspensors sputtered and caught again just before impact. The force from the Holtzman field generator cushioned them enough to absorb the worst of the crash. Then the storm pod slammed into the churned sand, and the Coriolis winds roared overhead like a spice harvester trampling a kangaroo mouse under its treads. A deluge of dust poured down, released from the sky.

Bruised but otherwise unharmed, Pardot and Liet Kynes picked themselves up and stared at each other in the afterglow of adrenaline. The storm headed up and over them, leaving the pod behind....

After working a sandsnork out through the clogged vent opening, Liet pumped fresh air into the stale confinement. When he pried open the heavy hatch, a stream of sand fell into the interior, but Liet used a static-foam binder to pack the walls. Using a scoop from his fremkit as well as his bare hands, Liet set to work digging them out.

Pardot Kynes had complete confidence in his son’s abilities to rescue them, so he worked in dimness to collate his new weather readings into a single old-style datapack.

Blinking as he pushed himself into the open air like an infant emerging from a womb, Liet stared at the storm-scoured landscape. The desert landscape was reborn: Dunes moved along like a marching herd; familiar landmarks changed; footprints, tents, even small villages erased. The entire basin looked fresh and clean and new.

Covered with pale dust, he scrambled up to more stable sand, where he saw the depression that hid the buried pod. When they’d crashed, the vessel had slammed a crater into the wind-stirred desert surface, just before the passing storm dumped a blanket of sand on top of them.

With Fremen instincts and an inborn sense of direction, Liet was able to determine their approximate position, not far from the South False Wall. He recognized the rock forms, the cliff bands, the peaks and rilles. If the winds had blown them a kilometer farther, the pod would have crashed into the blistering mountains, an ignominious end for the great Planetologist, whom the Fremen revered as their Umma, their prophet.

Liet called down into the hole that marked the buried vessel. “Father, I believe there’s a sietch in the nearby cliffs. If we go there, the Fremen can help us dig out the pod.”

“Good idea,” Kynes answered, his voice muffled. “Go check to make sure. I’ll stay here and work. I’ve ... got an idea.”

With a sigh, the young man walked across the sand toward the jutting elbows of ocher rock. His steps were without rhythm, so as not to attract one of the great worms: step, drag, pause ... drag, pause, step-step ... drag, step, pause, step....

Liet’s comrades at Red Wall Sietch, especially his blood brother Warrick, envied him for all the time he spent with the Planetologist. Umma Kynes had brought a vision of paradise to the desert people — they believed his dream of reawakening Dune, and followed the man.

Without the knowledge of the Harkonnen overlords — who were only on Arrakis to mine the spice, and viewed people only as a resource to be squeezed — Kynes oversaw armies of secret, devoted workers who planted grasses to anchor the mobile dunes; they established groves of cacti and hardy scrub bushes in sheltered canyons, watered by dew-precipitators. In the unexplored south polar regions, Fremen had planted palmaries, which had gained a foothold and now flourished. He had built a lush demonstration project at Plaster Basin that produced flowers, fresh fruit, and dwarf trees.

But though the Planetologist could orchestrate grandiose, world-spanning plans, Liet did not trust his father’s common sense enough to leave him alone for long.

The young man went along the ridge until he found subtle blaze marks on the rocks, a jumbled path no outsider would notice, messages in the placement of off-colored stones that promised food and shelter, under the respected al’amyah Travelers’ Benediction rules.

With the aid of strong Fremen in the sietch, they could excavate the weather pod and drag it to a hiding place where it would be salvaged or repaired; within an hour, the Fremen would remove all traces and let the desert fall back into brooding silence.

But when he looked back at the crash site, Liet was alarmed to see the battered vessel moving and lurching, already protruding a third of the way out of the sand. With a deep-throated hum, the pod heaved and strained, like a beast of burden caught in a Bela Tegeusan quagmire. But the pulsing suspensors had only enough strength to wrench the vessel upward a few centimeters at a time.

Liet froze when he realized what his father was doing. Suspensors. Out in the open desert!

He ran, tripping and stumbling, an avalanche of powder sand following his footsteps. “Father, stop. Turn them off!” He shouted so loudly that his throat grew raw. With dread in the pit of his stomach, he gazed across the golden ocean of dunes, toward the hellish pit of the faraway Cielago Depression. He scanned for a telltale ripple, the disturbance indicating deep movement....

“Father, come out of there.” He skidded to a stop in front of the open hatch as the pod continued to shift back and forth, straining. The suspensor fields thrummed. Grabbing the edge of the doorframe, Liet swung himself through the hatch and dropped inside the weather pod, startling Kynes.

The Planetologist grinned at his son. “It’s some sort of automated system — I don’t know what controls I bumped into, but this pod just might lift itself out in less than an hour.” He turned back to his instruments. “It gave me time to collate all our new data into a single storage — ”

Liet grabbed his father by the shoulder and pulled him from the controls. He slammed his hands down on the emergency cutoff switch, and the suspensors faded.

Confused, Kynes tried to protest, but his son urged him toward the open hatch.

“Get out, now! Run as fast as you can toward the rocks.”

“But — ”

Liet’s nostrils flared in angry exasperation. “Suspensors operate on a Holtzman field, just like shields. You know what happens when you activate a personal shield out in the open sand?”

“The suspensors are working again?” Kynes blinked, then his eyes lit up as he understood. “Ah! A worm comes.”

“A worm always comes. Now run!”

The elder Kynes staggered out of the hatch and dropped to the sand. He recovered his balance and oriented himself in the glaring sun. Seeing the cliff line Liet had indicated, a kilometer away, he trudged off in a jerky, mismatched walk, stepping, sliding, pausing, hopping forward in a complicated dance. The young Fremen dropped out of the hatch and followed along, as they made their way toward the safety of rocks.

Before long, they heard a hissing, rolling sound from behind. Liet glanced over his shoulder, then pushed his father over a dune crest. “Faster. I don’t know how much time we’ll have.” They increased their pace. Pardot stumbled, got back up.

Ripples arrowed across the sands directly toward the half-buried pod. Toward them. Dunes lurched, rolled, then flattened with the inexorable tunneling of a deep worm rising to the surface.

“Run with your very soul!” They sprinted toward the cliffs, crossed a dune crest, slid down, then surged forward again, the soft sand pulling at their feet. Liet’s spirits rose when he saw the safety of rocks less than a hundred meters away.

The hissing grew louder as the giant worm picked up speed. The ground beneath their boots trembled.

Finally, Kynes reached the first boulders and clutched them like an anchor, panting and wheezing. Liet pushed him farther, though, onto the slopes, to be sure the monster could not rise from the sand and strike them.

Minutes later, sitting on a ledge, wordless as they sucked hot air through their nostrils to catch their breath, Pardot Kynes and his son stared back to watch a churning whirlpool form around the half-buried weather pod. In the loosening powder, as the viscosity of the stirred sand changed, the pod shifted and began to sink.

The heart of the whirlpool rose up in a cavernous scooped mouth. The desert monster swallowed the offending vessel along with tons of sand, forcing all the debris down into a gullet lined with crystal teeth. The worm sank back into the arid depths, then Liet watched the ripples of its passage, slower now, returning into the empty basin....

In the pounding silence that followed, Pardot Kynes did not look exhilarated from his near brush with death. Instead, he appeared dejected. “We lost all that data.” The Planetologist heaved a deep breath. “I could have used our readings to understand those storms better.”

Liet reached inside a front pocket of his stillsuit and held up the old-style datapack he had snatched from the pod’s instrument panel. “Even while watching out for our lives — I can still pay attention to research.”

Kynes beamed with fatherly pride.

Under the desert sun, they hiked up the rugged path to the safety of the sietch.

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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
( 53 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2000

    Popular fiction yes, Dune Novel NO

    All I can ask is where did it all go wrong? This book devotes so much of its effort on plots that just lead nowhere. For instance, the introduction and killing of victor by his mother, what a bad sub-plot that had no real place in this novel, also the deaths of the entire former ixion leaders was dry. Also there was too much lack of action by the emperor and the houses in responce to the repeated 'violations'. for some unknown reasone the authors spend so much time trying to spin indivdual stories together when they shouldn't be involved with eachother. there are prehaps 50 to a hundered pages of actual importance in this 600 page book, the rest is just filler. It is sad to say but this book doesn't deserve its title, or to be part of a the Dune Saga in any shape or form. The whole book has a feel of a rush job, and from reading interviews I get the impression that they finished their third book already, probably even more of a rush. WHEN WILL AUTHORS RELIZE THAT READERS WOULD RATHER WAIT 5 YEARS PER SEQUAL THEN READ 5 BOOKS IN 3 years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014


    The first 100 pages were great, the net 50 were OK and the ret was just bad. This book takes place in the year 10,168 AG, and follows the three main houses. What was so bad about this book that it just seemed unnecicary, (729 pages?) After a while I stopped cring and fell asleep and woke up in tim or the credits. The Pardot Kynes parts are as boring as crap, Shaddam IV has grown dull, and i could care less about the Amal. This is getting worse. -D 70%

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013


    Im here s.e.x.y!!! ;D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013


    Noah i wanna break im sorry plz dont rply im aorry u r still my love but im tired of hiding this bye love... :,(

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012


    I loved the original series, this book gave a great background! Loved it even more when i reread the entire series in chronological order instead of the written order

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Excellent Background to Dune

    Excellent book. I'm new to the Dune-iverse. Loved the book. Gave me a great deal of background and picked up very nicely after House Atreides.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2004

    Fantastic and Faithful

    House Harkonnen is second in greatness only to that of Houase Atreides, as seems to be the fate of the Harkonnens in literary science fiction history. I believe that this book builds on what its predecessor started, and that this is a faitful telling of the continuing struggle between houses Atreides and Harkonnen. One of the best plots in this book is Leto's relationship with his concubine,Kailea. The relationship begins in House Atreides with both children developing a crush on each other and grows into a heated romance. The deterioration of that relationship, and the harsh and cruel things that Kailea does to hurt Leto, is both tragic and mesmerizing to read. Also, there is a scene in the original Dune novel where Leto is distraught over the assassin attempting to kill Paul, in House Harkonnen, we see how an event which occurs in Leto's life leads up to the fear that surfaces in Leto when history repeats itself with his second son. All in all, this is a must read book for any Dune fan and I do not think that they would be disappointed in what Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson have put together.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2002

    Prequel keeps getting better

    House Atriedes was good, but those House Harkonnan was a little bit better. I like the sub=plots that include the Beast Rabban's parents and the introduction to Feyd. I also like how it explains why Jessica disobeyed the Bene Gesserits and gave Leto a son.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2001

    WAY, WAY better than I could have hoped for!

    I have read ALL the Dune epics and was amazed at how well Frank Herbert's son Brian and Kevin Anderson picked up the torch to these novels. Although you may see a word, or sentence, that you know Frank would never include, non the less the plot the characters and the development of story lines is FABULOUS. I am absolutely drooling with anticipation for the next book!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2001

    The Dynamic Work of A grateful Son

    What Brian Hebert and Kevin J Anderson did to continue the work of his father with, Dune: House Atredies, is freaking fantastic. I love the fact that they gave a history to the characters in Dune, and gave Duke Leto the full focus in the story .That was the thing I regretted in Dune even though I know the story was based on Paul, and is progression from a young naive boy to a savior of a entire planet, I appaluaded the fact that they gave Leto some depth and descibed how he became the man he is in Dune.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Pleasantly surprising

    While House Atreides was more fun and had a better story (in my opinion), this one was more educational. We get to learn about our favorite characters from Frank Herbert's timeless classic Dune. I suggest re-reading Dune after completing this book. It makes an already extremely complicated book even more complicated. Can't wait for the next book (House Corrino?)...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2001


    weird yet suspenseful to read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2000

    Excellent... Entertaining.... Can't wait for the next in the series

    The book was excellent. It grabbed my attention and I was hooked from begining to end. There are a lot characters and details and the majority of them tie together to give us an idea of where the 'Dune' book got started from. Some elements were thrown in that could have done without... but I am certain that 10 years from now someone is going to tie all this together. I thank the authors for the great job and hope to read the next one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2000

    Can't wait for the next installment

    After reading Dune: House Atreides, I knew that I would continue to read the remainder of the Dune prequels. And boy am I glad I did! Although not in Frank Herberts' style (after all how could it possibly be)it is insightfull, full of character building information leading up to the original Dune series and somewhat gruesome (being named Dune: House Harkonnen how could it not be though). I won't even comment on some of the negative reviews that I've seen. Being #11 on the New York Times Bestseller list should be voice enough for these authors. It is a smashing success that will undoubtedly keep me reading the remainder of the series (Dune: House Corrino due out next year). Can't wait to taste some more spice!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2000

    Gritty and visceral

    This second installment of the prequel series is better than House Atreides in that the true evil and debauchery of the Harkonnens is revealed. The darker side of the Known Galaxy is paraded without gloss and the histories of the familiar characters from the original series motivations are made clearer. The deep, abiding hatred of the Harkonnens by literally everyone, the suspicion and loathing of the Theilaxu (with good reason), and the bravery and character of the Atreides and their loyal companions. The real reason Jessica betrayed her Bene Gesserit orders to bear a daugher and give Duke Leto a son. That was the plot line of 'Victor'. The amazing abilities of Duncan Idaho and their source, the rolling ugliness of Gurney Halleck and his bloodthirsty hatred of every Harkonnen. Those details merely alluded to in the original series, are brought to life with terrible clarity. There were some awkward plot twists, but I am not waiting for a Ghola of Frank Herbert to continue writing his stories. For entertainment purposes, these books are high quality. I eagerly await any and all installments forthcoming!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2000

    Read for Dune's history, not for a good SF novel

    The redeeming bit about both this book and its predecessor is that the new stories are culled from the notes of Frank Herbert. Many of the events, in and of themselves, ring true to the designs of the original Dune masterworks. However, (and I'm making a HUGE assumption about who's to blame here) Kevin J. Anderson's contributions to the story and his writing style are out of place. An example of a poor contribution (if it is such) is the introduction of a creature called an 'elecran.' An elecran is a near-mythical beast that is essentially a sentient thundercloud. It can be killed by making it lose contact with the Caladanian seas, and it attacks the main characters solely to illustrate aspects of the characters which have already been revealed. Not only was that inefficient writing, but poor plotting. And the creature simply does not come across as real. It's existence is not justified the way sandworms' are. (BTW, the reason I blame Anderson is that his other books read this way, that Brian had collaborated with his dad in the past and should know better, and that, even if it _was_ in Frank's notes, Herbert Sr. would never include such a creature in the final text.) There are also stylistic problems, not just in voice and content, but even in the mundane things. ('had showed' vs. 'had shown' Which do you think they used?) But, for all its flaws, it is fascinating to discover why certain characters became who they are at the start of Dune (although I'm still trying to discover why Liet Kynes, planetologist to the Emperor, doesn't know Gurney Halleck at the beginning of Dune even though they apparently meet in this book). I plan to get the next installment simply to continue filling in the gaps of Dune's history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2000

    This book is not at all worthy of being part of the dune series....

    This book has way too many 'fuzzy' areas... and even though the entire plot was designed to key into the book Dune it self it does a horrible job. Not only is the plot in this book weak around IX but it also has so many other loopholes. Like when Leto is on the boat and the 'sea monster' is coming straight at them.. What was that all about? Second I found no where in Dune concerning Leto's son Victor.... this is one of the weakest plot in the story... along with idea of the artificial spice development on IX.... and the weak idea around the freedom fighters within IX is just left open... perhaps for future prequels...but even so it just faded away from the book.... the book itself focus more on Gurney on Giedi Prime, Duncan becoming a sword master and the out of place kanly among two Houses the have nothing to do with the saga (Yet, I don¿t know where the authors are going with that) then it does explain all the other essential items to the story most notably the rise and disappearance of Ix later on in the saga... the previous book House Atreides was far far better than this one... it was actually on solid ground in conjunction with the original book. This book however dallies in places that just plain wrong... its just disappointing...they are too many loopholes in the entire story. Also during the first part of the story the reader does not have a clear idea of how mush time is passing by¿ once you reach the second half the entire book seems to go into fast forward mode. And then suddenly it slows down to a crawl. This is showed in Dune itself but it was MUCH more smoother then this books choppy time flow. Also the book does not dwell too much in the politics that surround the imperiam.. In other words this book is just plain bad compared to all the other Dune books. It seems that the book was rushed. Taking all the other books into account this one is by far the worst. God Emperor of Dune was pretty dry.. but it essential for the two ending books¿ I suggest that people wait for the book to come out in soft cover. There is really no point and a waste of money for you to buy it right now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2000

    wooohoooo - i'm the 1st review :)

    book 1 was fantastic, i'm glad book 2 is not taking 2 years to publish (like jordon does)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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