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Heretics of Dune

by Frank Herbert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dune (5), Dune: complete chronology (19)

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6,698371,008 (3.67)51
On Arrakis, now called Rakis, known to legend as Dune, ten times ten centuries have passed. The planet is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax struggle to direct the future of Dune. The children of Dune's children awaken as from a dream, wielding the new power of heresy called love.… (more)

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» See also 51 mentions

English (35)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
The gratuitive sex scenes distract from the epic story. I'm no prude but I found these parts boring, and couldn't wait to get back to the actual story line. Did the author lose his writing skills? While there are a few exciting reveals of the Dune world, and I'm glad I read the book just for those, the book was a great big pornography bore. ( )
  SonoranDreamer | Sep 2, 2020 |
I have to admit that I put this one on the backburner for years and years and years, even though I attempted to re-read the series several times over the decades, I always got stuck right at the end of [b:God Emperor of Dune|42432|God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4)|Frank Herbert|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327131560s/42432.jpg|3634588] and something in me just didn't want to pick up the two novels afterward.

This is strange to me! I thought the fifth and sixth books were rather awesome, frankly!

And that's why I'm skipping books 2, 3, and 4 altogether and jumping right back in to the books that I have only read once. And then I'll be picking up the series carried on by Anderson and Frank's son following the events of Chapterhouse.

So how did I think this book held up after all these years?

Pretty good! There were a few slow parts, but the one thing that Heretics does very well is the worldbuilding. The Great God Leto II has been dead for 1.5k years after taking a dip in the aquaduct, turning into sandtrout that have now become full sandworms. That means that poor Paul's son has a trapped consciousness inside these gigantic monstrosities after having lived for 5k years. (Since birth as a sandworm trapped consciousness.) Freaky cool. And of course religion has a bit part to play in these books as they always have.

What's most interesting is Miles Teg and the new Duncan Idaho. The similarities between Teg and the original Leto is pretty suggestive and the spice trance doubly so. His little transformation blew me away both times I read it. But Duncan Idaho? The obsessively resurrected clone of the original that has come back nearly countless times over 5k years? It staggers the imagination. Leto II really put him through the ringer, but even after the old god had died, the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tlailax have turned him into the stage of their own conflict.

And it's these two that really own the stage in this side of the universe.... until the great spreading of humanity came back. :) Enter conflict. :) So good.

This is one of those series that take a lot of dedication and understanding to really enjoy. You really have to get deep into them, but they're very, very enjoyable, and this one is very complex and deep in a very similar way to the original classic.

Tons of politics and machinations, and if you love that, you'll love this. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Frank Herbert’s Heretics of Dune takes place approximately 1,500 years after the events of God Emperor of Dune, which in turn sets it 5,000 years beyond the events of the original Dune trilogy of Paul Muad’Dib Atreides. Like Herbert’s previous novels, Heretics of Dune examines the role of religion in shaping and controlling society, with each powerful group viewing the other as a heretic. Since the end of Leto II Atreides’ empire, various groups were dispersed through the universe in a process called “The Scattering.” The Honored Matres, an off-shoot of the Bene Gesserit, are now returning and aligning themselves with the Bene Tleilaxu against the Bene Gesserit in order to seize power. The Tleilax are similarly aligned with the Spacing Guild and Ix, all three of whom are almost certainly violating the terms of the Butlerian Jihad. The Bene Gesserit, having their powers limited by the lack of mélange in the years after the God Emperor’s death, developed new methods for unlocking genetic memory in order to organize their generations-long plans. One of them, a descendant of the Atreides line, composes the Atreides Manifesto leading to a new, fledgling religious tradition. Finally, on Rakis, the Priests of the Divided God worship the new sandworms that each carry a portion of Leto II’s consciousness.

Drawing upon the ancestry program of the Bene Gesserit and Leto II Atreides, Herbert discusses various figures whose features recapitulate those from an earlier era, including the first Duke Leto Atreides and others from the time of God Emperor of Dune. One, on Rakis, is Sheeana, who appears to be able to control the sandworms. According to the Priests of the Divided God on Rakis, she bears a physical similarity to Siona and might therefore be the chosen one (pg. 93). Herbert discusses Sheeana’s power, “Sheeana would learn in time that any person who lived through the decision to die evolved a new emotional balance. Fears were transitory. This new condition was interesting” (pg. 92). Further, the Chapter House order of the Bene Gesserit has created yet another ghola of Duncan Idaho, making him the only character to carry over from the original trilogy and God Emperor of Dune. Though Leto II Atreides does not appear, his efforts in creating the Golden Path drive much of the story’s background, with some worshipping him, other regarding him as the Great Shaitan or the Tyrant, much as he predicted during God Emperor of Dune, and the Bene Gesserit attempting to find where they fit in the Golden Path. Finding a message Leto II left for her in the remains of Sietch Tabr, Odrade of Chapter House muses, “That was how the Sisterhood might end. Taraza’s design was clear, all the pieces in place. Nothing certain. Wealth and power, it was all the same in the end. The noble design had been started and it must be completed even if that meant the death of the Sisterhood” (pg. 311). The Bene Gesserit must decide whether to sacrifice their power and preserve humanity, or cling to it and risk the end that Leto II hoped to prevent.

In a nice touch demonstrating the passage of time, Herbert explains how names have changed through linguistic drift, including Arakkis, now known as Rakis, and Giedi Prime, now called Gammu through the work of Gurney Halleck (pg. 31). Further, Caladan now has the name Dan, as “millennia tended to shorten some labels” (pg. 132). Herbert also uses the book to comment on the nature of power, writing, “Hydraulic despotism: central control of an essential energy such as water, electricity, fuel, medicines, mélange… Obey the central controlling power or the energy is shut off and you die!” (pg. 126, ellipses in original). He began discussing the power of historians in the previous novel and adds to that, “Historians exercise great power and some of them know it. They recreate the past, changing it to fit their own interpretations. Thus, they change the future as well” (pg. 380).

As interesting as Heretics of Dune is to the larger narrative of the Saga of Dune, the significant jump in time and removal of all the main characters can make it difficult to follow. This novel also primarily serves to explain the changes that have occurred in the intervening 1,500 years and to set up a conflict that will play out in Chapterhouse: Dune and Herbert’s unwritten Dune 7 (though his son, Brian Herbert, later teamed with Kevin J. Anderson to write Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune based partially on the notes for Dune 7). Also, while Herbert always portrayed his women characters with a great deal of strength – the Bene Gesserit being an obvious example – the hatred he portrays other characters possessing for the Honored Matres and their use of sexuality to control people has not aged particularly well. The Dune novels never shied away from sexuality, but everything about Herbert’s discussion of the Honored Matres feels tonally different. That said, there is still much that fans of the series and its larger themes will find to enjoy. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Sep 18, 2019 |
Second last in the Dune series written by Frank Herbert, The series was continued by his son Brian Herbert. ( )
  nadineeg | Jan 27, 2019 |
Such amazing world building in the Dune series. Characters slightly better stepped out for me than in the first of the trilogy. ( )
  brakketh | Dec 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Herbertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schoenherr, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siudmak, WojciechCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuyter, M.K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Most discipline is a hidden discipline, designed not to liberate but to limit. Do not ask Why ? Be cautious with How? Why? leads inexorably to paradox. How? traps you in a universe of cause and effect. Both deny the infinite.
~The Apocrypha of Arrakis
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"Taraza told you, did she not, that we have gone through eleven of these Duncan Idaho gholas? ..."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On Arrakis, now called Rakis, known to legend as Dune, ten times ten centuries have passed. The planet is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax struggle to direct the future of Dune. The children of Dune's children awaken as from a dream, wielding the new power of heresy called love.

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AR 6.2, 26 Pts
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