The Machine Crusade: Dune
Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson
Tor, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Ken Lux
ou would be hard pressed to find a Science Fiction reader not familiar with Frank Herbert's
saga. This feudalistic epic of dynastic ruling families, a powerful Emperor, and the precious
found only on the planet Dune, has captivated generations. It's a classic Shakespearian tale of intrigue and treachery, placed in a dark futuristic setting, simultaneously frightening and thrilling. Sadly the tale spun on past most readers' thresholds for repetition - as sequels and prequels appeared in print, many of the faithful had moved on.
une: The Butlerian Jihad
was the 4th prequel to the original
novel and the first in a series of two books set generations before Paul-Maud' Dib walked the sands of Arrakis. This strong opening novel, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, told us of the time of the Titans (cyborgs intent on the total domination of Humankind), and their eventual enslavement by the Galaxy spanning Artificial Intelligence Omnius.
he story continues in
Dune: The Machine Crusade
, where we find the familiar families of Atreides, Harkonnen and Corrino - not as enemies, but standing shoulder to shoulder. Humanity has become united in an effort to stop mankind's destruction at the hands of Omnius and the thinking machines. The cruelty of the robot enemy has created a religious fanaticism in the populace, a momentum that the ruling elite does whatever it feels it must to maintain. The reader is tantalized by glimpses of the origins of the Fremen peoples, the Bene Gesserit
and the invention of instantaneous travel, '
his novel weaves a well plotted back story. Detailed, it answers many questions but avoids the pit of mind numbing historical droning that can bury a novel. The characters have depth, the story is compelling, and few fans can deny the allure of Sandworm Riding 101, or a blossoming romance on a remote backwater planet called Caladan. I don't claim that this saga reaches the artistic heights of Frank Herbert's original
, but I found it a solid, very satisfying read. I recommend it to series devotees, and as a tale worthy to stand on its own for the
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