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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dune Legacy

A sand-covered planet, poison gas hidden in a false-tooth, assassins, spice, Fremen, stillsuits, a gom jabbar, giant sandworms, thumpers ...

Those are the wonderful and vivid images that spring to mind when I hear the word "Dune".

I remember reading Frank Herbert's Dune about 15 years ago. I was fascinated with the complex universe created by this amazing author, and especially intrigued by the concept of stillsuits. (In case you've never read the book, a stillsuit is worn by people living in the desert; it recycles all water produced by your body and turns it into something you can drink.)

My dad introduced me to the world of sci-fi and fantasy ... Tolkien, Eddings, Jordan, and Herbert, were a few of our favorite authors. I remember many bookish conversations between him and I about them. (I also remember trying to get mom in on the conversation but she thought dad and I were nuts, especially for our fascination with stillsuits.)

That's my dad to the left. It's not the best picture but it's the only one I have handy.

Anyway, back to Dune. According to the official Dune website "Classic Dune" books include the following:
  • Dune
  • Dune Messiah
  • Children of Dune
  • God Emperor of Dune
  • Heretics of Dune
  • Chapterhouse: Dune
I read all of them many years ago, except perhaps the last one (I can't recall anything about that one at all). I loved the concept of the books, but there was one thing that bothered me: how did Paul go from leader of the Fremen uprising to Messiah/God Emperor? You see, book 2 picks up many, many years after book 1 ends and there is never a clear explanation of what happens in between.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I learned about the new book Paul of Dune, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I knew these guys had been writing Dune books for years but I didn't want to get sucked into a never-ending series so I chose not to read any of them. But their latest book - now that's a different story! It picks up where book 1 left off and fills in the gaps between the first two books. YES!

I received a review copy of the book in early September but had to put it aside until I finished several other books I'd committed to review. It has been staring at me from my bookshelf for months and I've been dying to pick it up. I was leery though ... what if I didn't remember enough about Dune? What if I had no idea what was going on?

I'm happy to report that it is FANTASTIC so far. I'm only a few chapters into it but I don't feel lost at all. If I remember the end of book 1 correctly, this new book begins only a few months later. The characters are coming back to me, the plot is coming back to me, and all those fantastic memories are coming back to me as well. I can't wait to get back to reading!


Literary Feline said...

I am glad you are enjoying this one, Heather. My husband may really like this one. He's trying to talk me into trying Dune. I probably will eventually, but first I need to get through my own TBR stacks. :-)

Dave said...

Like you, I was totally taken in by Dune, and I still rank it among my favorite books. I read two or three more, but they seemed to lack the magic of the original. Still, I'm encouraged by your reaction to the latest book, and may dive back in if the full review is as glowing.

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