Review of 'Prelude to Dune: House Atreides'

Prelude to Dune: House Atreides by Kevin J. Anderson, and Brian Herbert
Book 1 of the Prelude to Dune series

house_of_atreides.jpg With a mixture of both dread and intrigue I purchased and read the beginnings of yet another prequel novel, Prelude to Dune: House Atreides. Having read the Dune series many years ago I must admit from the out-start that I have never actually completed the series, becoming bored with the last book, Chapterhouse: Dune, and putting it down half way through. I enjoyed the way Herbert wove his various characters through the series and the imagination in his neo-gothic universe. I quickly made my way through Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune and the rest though my enthusiasm waned towards the end of the series when politics and intrigue seemed to dominate any traces of storyline. I saw with interest that Herbert's son Brian was to publish a novel set in the Dune universe set before the original Dune novels so I purchased at the first opportunity. <p>This new novel by his son Brian Herbert, noted for some Science Fiction writing, and Kevin J. Anderson, noted for his Star Wars and X-Files books have scoured through notes of Frank Herbert's that were recently discovered to attempt to reconstruct the forty or so years before the beginning of Dune. It tells the story of Leto Atreides, the father of Paul Atreides who is the focus of the early Dune books as he becomes the Kwisatz Haderach, the Messiah who is to bring peace to the galaxy (or so the prophesy says). Leto's story is told as he travels to Ix to learn about their culture then assume the leadership of House Atreides upon his father's death and then to face the first major challenge of his leadership.</p><p>The story is well told, skipping quickly between the major characters and events, somewhat typically of Anderson styling. I found most intriguing the discussion of Ix, the machine planet, and the few scraps of information the reader is given about Guild Navigators. The information is extremely consistent with Frank Herbert's stories and compels the reader forward though few events of major interest occur. A few minor crises, perhaps, but nothing “earth shattering” though perhaps this is because I understand how the story eventually continues. I can imagine that readers unfamiliar with Dune may find the book confusing and those who are familiar with the works may find the background information interesting but I can't imagine anyone being entirely satisfied.

Rating:


Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Bantam Dell Pub Group

Publication Date: 1999

ISBN: 9780340751749


Other reviewed books by Kevin J. Anderson, and Brian Herbert: