Title: Hunters of Dune
Author: Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Page Count/Review Word Count: 628
This book is interesting because it basically picks up after the end of Chapterhouse Dune and sets out to complete Frank Herbert’s vision for the Dune series. With Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson at the helm, there really isn’t anyone else who’s better qualified to do that.
It also helps that they had access to a bunch of Frank Herbert’s notes which detailed where he wanted the story to go, and so we can be reasonably sure that we’re getting the ending that he had in mind, rather than just some cash grab attempt to bring in a few extra bucks by breathing life into a dead franchise.
And Herbert and Anderson do a pretty good job of things. It probably also helps that by this point, they’d had a lot of practice through the other Dune prequels that they’d worked on. Weirdly, these books actually sort of bring the original series and the new series together, because we see gholas coming back of characters like Serena Butler and Xavier Harkonnen.
The concept of gholas is interesting to me because I usually find it to be a bit of a cop out when authors bring dead characters back to life. I find that it cheapens death and stops it from being so final, and so that then lowers the stakes. For whatever reason, I think it works in Dune, and it’s also interesting to me that they’re not born with their previous memories and have to regain them over time, usually by going through some sort of horrific ordeal.
In this book, all of the characters that we know and love are back, including two different Paul Atreides and even antagonists like Vladimir Harkonnen. But at the same time, they haven’t quite regained their memories yet, and so we’re left in this unusual situation in which they’re simultaneously familiar and different. There’s an edge to that, because we end up in situations where people don’t want their memories to come back or where they dislike the person that they were.
And then we have the idea of the no-ship travelling through space, trying to escape the grasp of an unseen enemy that later turns out to be someone – or something – that we’re familiar with. Arrakis is no more, and the only sandworms still around are living in the hold of the no-ship, creating small amounts of spice in an artificial desert.
Honestly, there are so many different elements to this book that I couldn’t hope to tackle them all, and that’s a good thing. I was worried when I learned that it was going to carry on from Chapterhouse Dune because I wasn’t a particular fan of that one. Luckily, I guess Frank was building up towards a triumphant ending that he never got the chance to work on, and it’s pretty sweet for us readers and for his legacy as a whole that his son was able to finish the job.
Not that this book is the end. There’s one other book that goes after this one, and then there are a couple of others that sort of sit between the existing releases. I’ve had such a good time with them that I’m pretty sure I’ll have finished the rest of the series by the summer, and I guess then I’ll have to find another series to nerd out on.
All in all then, Hunters of Dune was a success for me, and I’m glad that I got to it. I actually enjoyed it enough that I immediately went on to the next one in the series. I couldn’t wait.