Brian Herbert. Bantam Books, $27.5 (624pp) ISBN 978-0-553-11061-6
It was a daunting task to describe the origins and intricacies of the many feuds, alliances, schemes and prophesies of one of the most beloved SF novels ever written. Herbert, the son of Frank Herbert, who wrote the original Dune, and Anderson (coauthor, Ai Pedrito!, etc.) have met the challenge admirably. Within a web of relationships in which no act has simple or predictable consequences, they lay the foundations of the Dune saga. Duke Atreides and his son Leto are faced with an attack by their ancient rival, House Harkonnen. Eight-year-old Duncan Idaho strikes a small blow against the cruel Harkonnens by escaping their territory and defecting into the service of the duke. Emperor Elrood, Ruler of the Known Universe, takes vengeance on the machine planet Ix in retribution for a personal affront. Elrood, in turn, is maneuvered off the throne by his son Shaddam. The Bene Gesserits' 1000-year-old plan for breeding a perfect being--the Kwisatz Haderach--nears completion. And behind it all lies the harsh, desert world of Dune, the only planet in the known worlds to harbor the mysterious and powerful Spice, which everyone wants to control and one man, paleontologist Kynes, seeks to understand in his quest to make Dune flower again. Though the plot here is intricate, even readers new to the saga will be able to follow it easily (minute repetitions of important points help immensely), as the narrative weaves among the many interconnected tales. The attendant excitement and myriad revelations not only make this novel a terrific read in its own right but will inspire readers to turn, or return, to its great predecessor. (Oct.) FYI: Dune: House Atreides launches a proposed trilogy.
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999