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Dune: House Atreides
Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Narrated by Scott Brick, unabridged
Tantor Media, 26.5 hours

Brian Herbert
Brian Herbert is the eldest son of SF giant, Frank Herbert. An honour student, he graduated from high school at 16 and married while a full-time student at UC Berkeley, where he received a BA in Sociology. His first two books were humour collections, Incredible Insurance Claims and Classic Comebacks. After that he moved on to novels, including Sidney's Comet, The Garbage Chronicles, Sudanna Sudanna, Man Of Two Worlds (with Frank Herbert), and Memorymakers (with Marie Landis).

Dune Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Winds of Dune
SF Site Review: Dune: The Battle of Corrin
SF Site Review: Dreamer of Dune
SF Site Review: Dune: House Atreides
Bantam Spectra -- Dune Website

Kevin J. Anderson
Kevin J. Anderson was born in 1962 and was raised in Oregon, Wisconsin. At 10, he had saved up enough money from mowing lawns and doing odd jobs that he could either buy a bicycle or a typewriter -- he chose the typewriter and has been writing ever since. He sold his first novel, Resurrection, Inc., by the time he turned 25. Anderson worked in California for 12 years as a technical writer and editor at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he met his wife Rebecca Moesta and his frequent co-author, Doug Beason.

Kevin J. Anderson Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Landscapes
SF Site Interview: Kevin J. Anderson
SF Site Interview: Kevin J. Anderson
SF Site Review: Horizon Storms
SF Site Review: A Forest of Stars
SF Site Review: Dogged Persistence
SF Site Review: Resurrection, Inc.
SF Site Review: Dune: House Atreides
SF Site Review: Lethal Exposure

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Dune: House Atreides Back in 1999, Brian Herbert discovered some manuscripts written by his father, Frank Herbert, containing additional information on the Dune universe. Teaming up with Kevin J. Anderson, the two began a quest to add more stories to the "Duneverse" based on these manuscripts and their own talents in writing science fiction. The first series they wrote was Prelude to Dune and this title is the first book in the series.

Tantor Audio has released the audiobook versions of these books and this time they acquired the award-winning voice of Scott Brick. Back when I first started listening to audiobooks, Scott Brick was the first narrator I heard. After hearing his performance, I became a huge fan of audiobooks. There's a reason Mr. Brick has won so many awards -- he can adapt his voice to any genre and his talents are fully expressed when reading a book with multiple characters.

When narrating a passage with multiple characters he can, with the subtlest of changes, differentiate dialogue so the listener is treated to what nearly sounds like a multi-cast performance. At the same time, he can add the characters' emotions into the voice to the utmost perfection. Brick is no stranger to the Dune series and because he knows the material so well, I would have to say he is the perfect choice to voice this prequel series.

House Atreides offers a history of events leading up to the situations described in the epic novel Dune, by Frank Herbert. Starting at the top, the aging tyrant, Emperor Elrood Corrino IX, rules the known universe and his son is anxious to replace his father on the Golden Lion Throne. Shaddam IV cannot wait for his father to die a natural death and begins scheming to prematurely end the old man's reign.

While this is going on, the emperor is devising schemes that could change the universe. Spice Melange, found only on Dune, is a precious commodity. It is needed for the Spacing Guild to fold space, it prolongs life, and is highly addictive. "He who controls the spice, controls the Universe." So Elrood plans to develop an alternative to spice by teaming up with the genetic scientist race of the Tleilaxu, Elrood has commissioned them to develop the newly engineered spice. As payment to the Tleilaxu, Elrood plans a takeover of the machine planet Ix, which has the resources necessary to create the alternate spice.

Meanwhile, the Bene Gesserit discover they are only two or three generations from the Kwisatz Haderach, a prophesied messiah figure. But first they must get Baron Vladimir Harkonnen to "donate the genetic material." The first union of a Bene Gesserit sorceress and Harkonnen results in a deformity, requiring that the process be repeated. This time, Harkonnen violently rapes the sorceress, an act he will soon regret.

On Caladan, Paulus Atreides dies during a bullfight with a drugged Salusan Bull, and Leto becomes Duke. House Harkonnen has developed a ship that renders itself invisible and frames House Atreides for an attack on the Tleilaxu.

If this wasn't enough to keep up with, a planetologist sent by Emperor Elrood arrives on Dune and begins his duties there. He starts to dislike the Harkonnen rule there, while becoming more interested in the native Fremen of the desert and the possibility of terraforming the planet. He also finds evidence that Dune was once covered with giant oceans, and gets curious about what changed the climate to desert.

Just like the original Dune titles, there's plenty here to keep listeners occupied -- lots of material, lots of action, and great political intrigue.

Copyright © 2010 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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