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.
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)
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.\
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.
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.
"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