The new Dune books

I read House Atriedes, the first in the prequels to Dune.

I was disappointed. I read like a Star Wars book, for good reason - Brian Herbert (Frank’s son) was one of the writers, but his co-writer apparently has made his fame writing Star Wars novels. And that’s fine for the good vs evil world of Star Wars, but not so good for the world of Dune, where everything is ambiguously grey and everyone is ruthless.

Dune itself is an intricate mosaic of Islamic culture and feudal politics. Its a fascinating book which I have read over and over. Even better, the sequels are very good too (they lose some momentum, but are much better than most sci-fi).

The prequel tries to emulate this, but falls flat. There are some interesting aspects - Baron Harkonnen as a muscular man, the Bene Gesserit’s singlemindedness, but the wholesome characterisation of Leto’s father, the Duke, the boyhood friendship of Leto and the Earl of Ix’s son (which reads like a sci-fi Hardy Boys adventure) and the lame siege and conquer of Ix were crappily disappointing. The trial at the end was a farce of writing.

Someone like Dan Simmons (who wrote the detailed Hyperion series) would have been far better an author to take on the difficult task of writing these prequels.

I’m really undecided as to whether I should buy House Harkonnen and House Corrino (the other two prequels), and unless I read a rave review from a serious critic to say that number 1 was crap, but 2 and 3 are much better, I think I’ll be giving them a miss.

Like the OPer,I loved “Dune”.
Also,like the OPer,I hated “House Atriedes”.
The book seeemed to me to be nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the original.It lacked the depth of “Dune”.<------understatement
I will not buy the books ever.
I will not check them out at the library.
I will not borrow them from a friend
I will not waste one nanosecond of my life reading them.


I read the first prequel, and thought it did a good job of setting up the events leading up to Dune. Basically, just kind of an extended introduction to the masterpiece itself. Also, it was fun to throw myself back into the Dune universe, after a long absence. While reading it, however, I started rereading parts of Dune, and found myself being blown away again by that book.

I actually enjoyed House Atreides and House Harkonnen, but they still don’t hold a candle to the originals. I’ll read House Corrino when it comes out in paperback as well. They’ve introduced most of the characters from the original books, and explained the origins of Duncan, Gurney and Dr Yueh in much greater detail. We still haven’t found out how the Baron breaks the Doctor (in detail, that is) or what happens to Ix (still very much up in the air). One common theme so far - devious women who destroy (or try to destroy) the men they love.

I’ve read all 3 prequels, and enjoyed them in much the same way I enjoy Clive Cussler: Good adventure stories. Escapist mind candy. They are perhaps even a bit above that genre because they are dealing with Dune characters and mythos. But, as others have pointed out, they do not reach the mind-boggling, perception-shifting, “Oh wow” nature of the rich original book. How could we really expect them to? But I did enjoy them, perhaps because my expectations were low to begin with.

First, I’ll admit that I’m an almost-religious adherent of the semi-canonical Dune Encyclopedia, which was, after all, approved by Herbert pere.

Disclaimer aside, I was actually literally enraged by House Atreides. Everything was wrong. All of the “recent” history of the Imperium as revealed in the DE was thrown out the window. No Tanidia Nerus, no Ixian secretiveness due to the Imperium-wide (rather than just Tlielaxu) distaste for technology, no reluctant-to-be-Empress Empress. The physical decline of Baron Harkonnen changed from personal dissolution due to witnessing his father’s murder by his brother to a Bene Gesserit trick. All the depth was gone, replaced by some facile action/adventure crap.

Hated it. Hated, hated, hated, hated. I’ve vowed not to touch the other two. Even with full biohazard gear. Yuck.


I read and enjoyed the original Dune. I only read the first sequal though, can’t remember the name, and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. The pages in that book literally repel the eyes. IMHO. I won’t be reading any more of them.

I did read “House Atriedes”. I found it to be decent, not as good as the original, but much better than the sequels.

With respect, I disagree. Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were excellent. I also really like God Emperor of Dune.

By the time we get to Chapter House Dune, it is starting to get a little strained.

All of these books urinate on House Atriedes.