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Heretics of Dune
Frank Herbert
Narrated by Simon Vance, Scott Brick and Katherine Kellgren, unabridged
Macmillan Audio, 18 hrs. 30 min.

Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert was born in 1920 in Tacoma, Washington. He served in the U.S. Navy as a photographer during World War II. After the war, he attended the University of Washington and later worked at the Seattle Star, the Oregon Statesman and, as a writer and editor for the San Francisco Examiner's California Living magazine. He began writing SF in the 50s with short stories appearing in Startling Stories and other magazines. His career as a novelist began with the publication of The Dragon in the Sea in 1955. Herbert began researching Dune in 1959 and completed it in 1965. It was serialized in Analog magazine in two separate parts in 1963 and 1965 and won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965 and shared the Hugo Award in 1966. Frank Herbert died of pancreatic cancer on February 11, 1986, in Madison, Wisconsin, at the age of 65.

ISFDB Bibliography
Dune: The Official Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Heretics of Dune What makes the original Dune series a science fiction classic is the way that Frank Herbert creates not only a story, but a framework to explore the power of religion, culture and conflict in civilization. Every book in the series works around the political intrigue and cultural influences within the Dune universe, yet still has something to say about today's society, no matter when that "today" happens to be.

This production is read mainly by Simon Vance. Although Scott Brick and Katherine Kellgren are also listed as narrators, they seem to make little, if any, narrative contributions in this installment of the series. This gives Vance the opportunity to voice a wide variety of characters, which he does with such skill that listeners can easily stay tuned into the complicated and twisting storyline.

Heretics of Dune presents yet another perspective of the "Duneverse," this time exploring the meaning and purpose behind the emotion of love. The heresy, which all of the heretics in this book are guilty of committing, is love. The Bene Gesserit know the dangers of falling in love. This mysterious, quasi-religious sisterhood have a human breeding program in which the genetic line of the Atreides family is preserved. And although no Bene Gesserit is allowed to fall in love, that's exactly what happened centuries earlier when the Lady Jessica bore a son to the Atreides household. The consequences of that love resulted in her son, Paul, becoming the Kwisatz Haderach, a being that could be in all places at once, And it also created Paul's son, the tyrant God Emperor, Leto II.

This book takes place 1,500 years after the reign of Leto II on Arrakis, Dune. Now called Rakis, it has returned to being a desert planet due to the re-emergence of the sandtrout, an organism critical to the development of sandworms, because Dune's most famous lifeform is no longer extinct, the return of the all-important spice to the planet.

The empire fell into chaos before the return of the sandworms, due to the scarcity of spice. This created the "Scattering" in which much of the population sought the extreme edges of the universe to find other sources of spice or to expand the location of humanity. As the book opens, many people have returned but the exodus had changed them. There is also a new force to deal with in the guise of the Honored Matres. They are very similar to the Bene Gesserit but the Matres use sex as a weapon and force of rule.

Duncan Idaho was the swordmaster of Duke Leto centuries earlier. As if raising him from the dead, the Bene Gesserit have been using gholas, or clones, of Duncan through the years. But the Tleilaxu, a race which creates gholas, have always assassinated the Duncan Idaho gholas before they reach full adulthood. However,the Bene Gesserit now have an elaborate plan in place to protect the most recent reincarnation of their ghola.

In the meantime, on Rakis, a child is discovered by the priests that can control the sandworms. The Bene Gesserit hear of this and immediately take over Rakis in the hopes of controlling the young girl. The Honored Matres also find this out and seek to destroy the ghola and the girl and Rakis. Needless to say, this is the setup for battles to be fought and destinies to be determined. Many entangled plots resolve into an outcome that makes this book yet another great adventure in the Duneverse created by Frank Herbert.

Copyright © 2009 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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