New Dune novel: Hunters of Dune

So, after laying groundwork in the “Butlerian Jihad” (and to a lesser extent the “House: Atreides / Harkonnen / Corino” trilogy), Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson have now put out a sequel to “Chapterhouse: Dune”.

I think it’s safe to leave stuff from Frank Herbert’s original novels un-boxed (after all, they’ve been out for decades), but I’ll be boxing stuff from “Hunters” and the other Anderson / Herbert collaborations just in case.

The book takes place over the course of about 20 years. We learn the fate of the no-ship piloted by Duncan Idaho and his group of refugees, the results of Murbella’s fusion of Bene Gesserit and Honored Matres, more history from the Scattering, the Enemy who chased the Matres back to the old empire, and the identity (and motives) of the old couple last seen trying to trap Duncan in a glowing net at the end of Chapterhouse.

It’s that last one that seems to grate the most in the new book (major spoiler, you have been warned): At the end of Chapterhouse, the couple pretty much state flat out that they’re Face Dancers who have absorbed enough memories to gain independence from the Tleilax Masters. In Hunters, “Daniel” and “Marty” are revealed to be Omnius and Erasmus (introduced in the “Jihad” trilogy), rebuilding the Synchronized worlds far from humanity and millenia after the end of the Jihad. This doesn’t quite jibe with the author’s statements that Hunters (and the concluding “Sandworms of Dune” coming out I think next year) were plotted following Frank Herbert’s notes for Dune 7. The only justification I can guess is that the epilog of Chapterhouse was just a minor attempt at tying up loose ends without the additional backstory, if the elder Herbert didn’t want to continue writing after the death of his wife.

Anderson and Herbert seemed to get somewhat into the various political machinations that I liked in the original Dune series: Sisterhood vs. Matres, Richese vs. Ix, the Guild leveraging their power, religious sects (some natural, some created by the Bene Gesserit), Face Dancers infiltrating everyone, and the overshadowing menace of the Enemy (always capitalized). But it didn’t seem to have quite the same…depth of intrigue that Frank Herbert seemed to always include. This might be a good point for some (I admit, things got a little complicated in the original series).

It may not have the grand sweep of things that you remember from Dune -> Children (IMO, the best of the series), but it seems to hold up to level of Heretics and Chapterhouse. Take that as a good or bad sign, depending on your opinion of those. :slight_smile:

In further news, Frank Herbert is still dead.

I read and enjoyed the original Dune. Also enjoyed the AH board game, and still play it once a year or so. Read some of the other books…up through the one where the guy turned himself into a sandworm. Never did finish that thing, and haven’t had any interest in trying to follow the series after that, either. I’d like to see a JMS style series tell the Dune saga over several TV seasons…

I’ve bought the book but I haven’t even started it yet. I was re-reading the original works and I have about 1/3 of Chapterhouse left. I have been reading all of the stuff Herbert jr. and Anderson have writen in the Duniverse and it has been okay. However, based on what I know of Hunters, I am concerned. It seems kind of cheesy and I have a problem imagining that it is what Frank would have done. I’ll probably start the book sometime this weekend and keep my fingers crossed that it isn’t as bad as I fear it will be.