Review of 'Hunters of Dune'

Hunters of Dune by Kevin J. Anderson, and Brian Herbert
7th book in the 'Dune' series

Finally Frank Herbert's son (Brian Herbert) and a leading Science Fiction author (Kevin J. Anderson) team up to continue the Dune series picking up from where Frank Herberts final Dune novel “ChapterHouse Dune” left off. It has been a long wait, was it worth it?

The novel is quite complex with three main threads running throughout. The first storyline finds the Duncan Idaho ghola having just escaped in a no-ship from Chapterhouse (the home of the Bene Gesserit uneasy alliance with the Honoured Matres) with an odd assortment of passengers: A number of dissident Bene Gesserit, a group of Jews, Sheena (a Bene Gesserit leader), and the final worm from the destroyed Rakis. They flee not only the disturbing events of Chapterhouse but also from a distant enemy that threatens to destroy the entire universe. Along the way they stumble across preserved cells from many great historical figures from the past including Paul Muad'dib, his Fremen lover Chani, and Lady Jessica. Quickly a scheme is hatched to bring many of these figures back as gholas in the hope that these great minds of the past will be able to help with the coming war.

The second thread finds Idahos group not only the ones having the technology of the Tleilaxu the hideous axlotl tanks: A group of face dancers have also discovered similar genetic material and are determined to use it to their advantage in a way markedly different than the fleeing Idaho – a darker method entirely.

Finally, on Chapterhouse Mother Commander Murbella continues her eradication of rebel Honoured Matres as well as recreating Arakis so that spice can once again flow. It is not going as smoothly as she would like as the Guild Navigators seek another source of the spice so they do not have to depend on Chapterhouse.

The threads of this complex and on-going story are expertly weaved together towards the climax of this epic story. Obviously if you are new to the Dune series this is NOT the book to start with (start at the beginning – no – really, this is one series that really must be read in full). Readers of Hunters of Dune in addition to having read the previous Dune novels by Frank Herbert will also definitely benefit with having read the various “prequel” novels (the “House” series and the recent “Machine Crusade” series) particularly later in this novel where some details may not make a lot of sense without this background information. Various elements from these previous works are used throughout.

I, for one, am glad to see two people who I feel are more than qualified to continue the story of Frank Herbert. It is fantastic to think of the original material they uncovered by the great man that lead them to even attempting such a feat (in a box stored in the garage, no less!). They have a different style from Herbert (notably much shorter chapters!) and yet still manage to catch the essence of the story and the characters complete with the complex political situations involved. I will look forward to the concluding chapter with great relish.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2006-09-30

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2006

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

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