Brian Herbert would make his father proud. In collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson, he has 'fleshed out' the vast universe centered around the planet Arrakis. This book, like its predecessor "The Butlerian Jihad", expounds on the events surrounding the war with the Thinking Machines only hinted about in the original novels.
With sweeping strokes, the authors take you on a breathtaking journey through the known galaxy. Their characters are 'real' in the sense that you care deeply about their fates - even the obviously 'evil' ones. No small feat, this. Many large scifi books center around technology and 'gee-whiz" what-ifs without truly giving you characters that you can get emotionally tied to. Strongly framed characters are essential for my suspension of disbelief.
The story takes place some 24 years following the events of the Butlerian Jihad. Both Xavier Harkonnen and Vorien Atreides are now "Premeros" of the Army of the Jihad and the best of friends. Serena Butler serves as an almost Deity-like leader who keeps pushing the multitude of free humans into battle after battle with the Thinking Machines.
You can start to see the beginnings of the staples of the original story - the CHOAM Company, the Spacing Guild, Spice Distribution, the Fremen, etc.
While this installment has a satifactory ending, you are definitely left yearning for more even after 26 or so hours of rapt attention.
The authors, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson along with the fantastic narrator, Scott Brick, are deserving of great accolades for such incomparable effort on the behalf of we Dune fans - A Dukedom in the League of Nobles, perhaps?
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