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Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert
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3741046,247 (3.46)9
"It is 83 years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new imperium. The great war hero Vorian Atreides has turned his back on politics and Salusa Secundus, flying off to parts unknown; because he was given a life-extension treatment by Agamemnon, he ages very slowly. Abulurd Harkonnen, convicted of cowardice during the Battle of Corrin, was sent away in disgrace to live on the gloomy planet Lankiveil, and his descendants continue to blame Vor for the downfall of their fortunes. Raquella Berto-Anirul has formed the Bene Gesserit School on the jungle planet Rossak as the first Reverend Mother. The descendants of Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva have built a powerful transportation company, the Venport Spacing Fleet, using mutated, spice-saturated Navigators who fly "spacefolder ships" (precursors of Heighliners). Gilbertus Albans, the ward of the hated Erasmus, has established his own school on the bucolic planet of Lampadas where he teaches humans to become Mentats. Even so, many decades after the defeat of the thinking machines, anti-technology fervor continues to sweep across the human-settled planets, with powerful fanatical groups imposing violent purges.... "--… (more)

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There are lots of ‘Dune’ books now. I read the originals by Frank Herbert up to ‘God Emperor Of Dune’ but gave up on the next one half-way through, bored with the complicated plot. Brian, son of Frank, has since teamed up with Kevin J. Anderson to write many more, which I’ve avoided on the simple principle that reading them all of them would take too much time. However, this was available for review and I thought I should give them a chance.

‘Sisterhood Of Dune’ is an epic story with many characters and multiple narrative viewpoints. The first person to get our attention is Manford Torondo, legless leader of the Butlerian movement. The machine masters of mankind have been defeated long since but there are many derelict spaceships left with evil machinery on board, perhaps even the most terrible of all, thinking machines. Manford’s many minions are dedicated to destroying the last remnants of computer technology.

Next up is Reverend Mother Raquella Berto-Anirul, the first Reverend Mother ever and leader of the Rossak school, the Sisterhood of the title. Since that is the case, you might think she would be first narrator but, in fact, the book, like most ‘Dune’ books, is about all the special interest groups in the space opera and the title is a bit misleading. Anyway, Raquella is training up her ladies to achieve their full potential and then assigning them to noble houses and important organisations throughout the empire, the better to breed with desirable gene holders. Her big secret is that the breeding records are computerised. Manford will go ape if he finds out.

Then there’s Vorian Atreides, long-lived hero of the Butlerian jihad, now living a quiet life until slavers kidnap his family. Griffin Harkonnen is trying to restore his family’s fortunes through the difficult business of whale fur trading on a desolate planet and missing his sister, Valya, who is on Rossak with the sisterhood. Josef Venport, meanwhile, head of a huge commercial shipping corporation, needs more spice from Arrakis to feed his expanding number of mutated Navigators and make new ones who can fold space to traverse the 13,000 worlds of the empire. He wants more ships, too, and would like to use the old ones that the Butlerians keep destroying. Like the Sisterhood, Gilbertus Albans, head of the Mentat school, has a dark secret. Emperor Salvador Corrinno is beset with anxieties, Manford Torondo’s fanatic hordes not least among them.

All these competing factions with their different aims and visions are bound together in a complex plot. Most of them are ruthless and use torture, unfortunately, to gain information. I don’t like torture in stories. It’s not lovingly described here but I still don’t like it for it seems to me a cheap way of making your villains seem more villainous. It is realistic, however, in that powerful people have always used it. Bear in mind that the single-minded, purpose-filled personalities in this sort of yarn are not like you and me. Well, not like me anyway. They’re not focused on a happy family life, some mild pleasures and being a reasonably nice guy or gal. History and the daily news tell us that this is how powerful people behave so in a way the novel is realistic. However, there are very few of the characters you would invite round for tea

Although it’s obviously Science Fiction, the structure and the plotting are like those of more realistic epics. The rival interests, the scheming, the revenge motive and so on reminded me of ‘Tai Pan’ and ‘Noble House’ by James Clavell, two excellent historical novels that are great entertainment. ‘Sisterhood Of Dune’ is not as good as those works. It is entertaining as a plot but there’s something lacking and, only when I went on to read another book, did I realise what lacked, namely, humanity and humour.

The only remotely likeable characters are Vorian Atreides, Griffin Harkonnen and the Emperor’s brother, Roderick. Everyone else is so one-track minded as to be certifiable. Not only that but there are none of the little incidents or thoughts that a good writer puts in to make a character sympathetic and there is absolutely no humour whatsoever. Moreover, the worship of power by virtually all the characters and the striving for superiority, whether by breeding, training or scheming, smacks of a fascist mindset.

Mind you, this is all true of the original ‘Dune’ books as well but the ideas were interesting so it was good Science Fiction. Having the same ideas recycled over and over again is simply good publishing. ‘Sisterhood Of Dune’ has a neat plot, the writing is generally efficient, the story will keep you reading. I don’t regret the experience but I’m not sure I want to repeat it.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/ ( )
  bigfootmurf | Aug 11, 2019 |
This was more enjoyable than [b:Paul of Dune|2920001|Paul of Dune|Brian Herbert|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1317792233s/2920001.jpg|2947234] and I think I enjoyed it a little more than [b:The Winds of Dune|6072318|The Winds of Dune|Brian Herbert|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1317792979s/6072318.jpg|6248814].

However, I was/am also reading [b:Heretics of Dune|53774|Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #5)|Frank Herbert|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1326690295s/53774.jpg|3634575], so was able to contrast directly between Brian Herbert/Kevin Anderson and Frank Herbert. It was just sad.

Sisterhood is just an adventure scifi story that could either stand on its own or be part of a duology or [heaven forbid!] a trilogy. Things, exciting things sometime, happen. But I honestly cannot say that I would find this book [along with all the rest of the H&A's Dune stuff] interesting if I wasn't already enthralled by the original Dune Saga by Frank.

The enjoyment from this book came from seeing the fleshing out of Frank's ideas and not from the actual authors writings or ideas. And while H&A might be laughing all the way to the bank, we the fans know that they are simply riding the coattails of a much better author.

So enjoy all the stuff by H&A [and I plan on continuing to read what they put out], but realize they are the dollop of sour cream on top of the chili. It enhance the food, but it is NOT the meal. ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Only 80 years have passed since the thinking machines were overthrown in the Battle of Corrin. Humanity struggles to define itself as the universe learns to live free from the bondage of Omnius and the cymeks. I am not too pleased to be back in this particular time in the Dune chronicles. Not one to read a book jacket or review before I pick up a book, I had hopes that Sisterhood of Dune would be further into the history of the Bene Gesserit. To read more of my review visit my blog, Thank the Maker http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2012/04/same-old-story.html ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
I have read all the previous Herbert/Anderson Dune books, but I have not read any since 2011. I had forgotten how distracting the writing style is. I really like the story lines and of course the subject and I plan to read the next two books. ( )
  ecurb | Apr 2, 2016 |
Only 80 years have passed since the thinking machines were overthrown in the Battle of Corrin. Humanity struggles to define itself as the universe learns to live free from the bondage of Omnius and the cymeks. I am not too pleased to be back in this particular time in the Dune chronicles. Not one to read a book jacket or review before I pick up a book, I had hopes that Sisterhood of Dune would be further into the history of the Bene Gesserit. To read more of my review visit my blog, Thank the Maker http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2012/04/same-old-story.html ( )
  Girlscifi | Jan 16, 2016 |
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Anderson, Kevin J.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It was a time of geniuses, of people stretching the limits of their imagination and wondering about the possibilities for their race.
--HISTORY OF THE GREAT SCHOOLS

One might think that humanity would have peace and prosperity after the defeat of the thinking machines and the formation of the Landsraad League to replace the old League of Nobles, but the battles had just begun. Without an external enemy to fight, we began to fight ourselves.
--ANNALS OF THE IMPERIUM
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Manford Torondo had lost count of his many missions.
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Book description
It is eighty-three years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new Imperium. Great changes are brewing that will shape and twist all of humankind.

The war hero Vorian Atreides has turned his back on politics and Salusa Secundus. The descendants of Abulurd Harkonnen Griffen and Valya have sworn vengeance against Vor, blaming him for the downfall of their fortunes. Raquella Berto-Anirul has formed the Bene Gesserit School on the jungle planet Rossak as the first Reverend Mother. The descendants of Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva have built Venport Holdings, using mutated, spice-saturated Navigators who fly precursors of Heighliners. Gilbertus Albans, the ward of the hated Erasmus, is teaching humans to become Mentats…and hiding an unbelievable secret.

The Butlerian movement, rabidly opposed to all forms of “dangerous technology,” is led by Manford Torondo and his devoted Swordmaster, Anari Idaho. And it is this group, so many decades after the defeat of the thinking machines, which begins to sweep across the known universe in mobs, millions strong, destroying everything in its path.

Every one of these characters, and all of these groups, will become enmeshed in the contest between Reason and Faith. All of them will be forced to choose sides in the inevitable crusade that could destroy humankind forever….
Haiku summary
The fear of unknown;
the mind of man is holy;
geniuses, great schools.
(walokra)

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