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From Barnes & NobleOur 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 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.