Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dune: House Atreides

Dune: House Atreides

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Date: 1999   —   $4.99   —   Book

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Fiction, Science Fiction

Frank Herbert died shortly after completing the sixth book in what was planned to be a seven-book series. For years his son considered working on the last book, but felt inadequate to the task. When Kevin J. Anderson wrote to say he was interested in assisting, Brian Herbert went back to the idea. To make sure that they got the tone right, he proposed that they first write prequels set in the years leading up to Dune.

And then they had a stroke of luck - they were called by an auditor who had found the location of some previously unsuspected safe deposit boxes of Frank Herbert. These boxes held everything - the outline, plot sketches, and background for the seventh novel. With an idea of where they would end up, Herbert and Anderson now felt ready to write the decades before Dune.

This is seriously addictive writing. The reader has presumably read the Dune novels, and so knows the implications of certain actions, as well as the true origins of spice, the substance which runs the Imperium. It is also interesting to see the origins of certain characters, because they are not always expected; Baron Harkonnen, for example, is fit and healthy, a far cry from the overweight blob of the Dune novels. Leto Atreides is young and still learning. And some characters we've never seen before, such as the house Vernius, from Ix, take center stage in the turmoil leading up to the years of Dune.

This is indeed part of a triology, and one should read the books as a whole.

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