Chapterhouse Dune Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed. Now, the Bene Gesserit, heirs to Dune's power, have colonized a green world - and are tuning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile.
Chapterhouse Dune is the last book Frank Herbert wrote before his death: A stunning climax to the epic Dune legend that will live on forever.
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|Listening Length||16 hours and 42 minutes|
|Narrator||Euan Morton, Katherine Kellgren, Scott Brick, Simon Vance|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||February 17, 2009|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,193 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#39 in Space Opera Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#78 in Space Operas
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So ends the Dune Saga. Unfinished, with one planned book remaining. Of course there are the books by his son, Brian, but that's not a can of worms (no pun intended) I need to open here and now. It's a sad thing, when a master cannot complete their opus. I've seen it with Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time, though admittedly Sanderson stepped in and did a better job than I have any reason to expect Brian Herbert did. Can of worms, can of worms...
Chapterhouse: Dune opens shortly after the events that concluded Heretics of Dune. It is not made explicit how many years have passed, but it can't have been more than a decade (and this is quite a short span given how many years passed between books four and five, and between books three and four before it). For this reason, it was very fun to fall into the novel shortly after Heretics. As is typical of Frank, he sets up new and interesting pieces to move around his cosmic chessboard while maintaining the complexities of the series at large, and continuing on with the same ultimate issue of the fifth book: The Honored Matres.
One of the best things that can be said for Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune is that they both dive so, so deeply into the Bene Gesserit, who are in general one of the most fascinating groups I have ever read about. They are an incredible mix of philosophical wisdom, metaphysical insight, moral fitness, and pure discipline. They are that ultimate guiding hand in the background, the universe's teachers ensuring the maturation of humankind. This being the case, we see in the Honored Matres a natural enemy for the Sisterhood. They who thrive in chaos. The wild thing that no one can govern. An unknown entity out of unknown space, remnants of the Scattering of humankind. Throwing these two groups at one another, not to mention the other players still making waves in the Dune universe, makes for some of Frank's most enticing conversations. But it must be said, he was faltering at times, here at the end.
Frank spent a great deal of time dealing with what felt like needless obfuscation in this final entry. The Bene Gesserit have always been a group so far advanced in mental disciplines that you can read the words and feel like you're missing the real meaning. This has actually been something I've always enjoyed about them, because it doesn't feel like nonsense. It feels like a real offshoot of modern humanity, and a believable eventuality of dedicated breeding in a sci-fi universe. Be that as it may, it felt like Frank was shuffling his feet in some areas here. One could site real-life influences for this (Frank gives an absolutely beautiful tribute at the end to his wife Bev who died during the writing of this book), or perhaps it had more to do with my own mental space and mood while reading it, but no matter the reason it is a truth of my experience. Important to note though, I think he wrote a hell of an ending for this one. The problems I had with the earlier portions of the book completely dropped away in the last hundred pages or so, and I was incredibly eager for more. Which, of course, made Frank's death only a year after the publishing of Chapterhouse hurt even worse.
I also want to mention that there were a surprising amount of errors in the kindle version of this book. Grammatical errors, missing letters, misplaced italics. None of the other installments have these issues, so I can only imagine it will be fixed for future readers (especially with so much buzz around the series right now due to Villeneuve's forthcoming adaptation--the very inspiration for my own re-read.)
Problems with this installment aside, facts are facts. Frank Herbert was a master. A giant in the genre who paved the way for so many. I owe a lot to him, and to Dune. It will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. And I look forward to revisiting it for many years to come.
My one star is for the quality of the conversion of this book to kindle format. There are typos everywhere, multiple times in every chapter. Herberts prose is completely shattered. His thoughts and prose can be challenging to grasp but the numerous typos and word substitutions make this one not worth the effort in ebook format. Avoid avoid avoid.
Well...I broke down and read all six of the books written by Herbert...and the joke is true.
Seriously, don't bother.
By the time we get to Book 6 here, the man was very obviously out of ideas, and worse, he was out of fresh ways to express his old ideas. Books 4 and 5 were pretty awful, and this final novel isn't really a novel at all, more like the odds and ends that were edited out of the previous story for being overlong and irrelevant.
NOTE: The first novel, DUNE, *very much deserves* its standing as a true classic of science fiction. Everyone should read DUNE.
But I seriously regret spending the money and time on the following five novels.
The story takes place roughly 30,000 years in our future, immediately following the events of Heretics of Dune. At the end of that novel, the planet Arrakis was destroyed by the mysterious Honored Matres. The Bene Gesserit sisterhood, however, absconded with a sandworm and have proceeded to create a new Dune on the planet they call Chapterhouse, which serves as the administrative headquarters of their order. The Honored Matres are hunting the Bene Gesserit to extinction. They have destroyed multiple worlds that housed Bene Gesserit schools and strongholds, but the location of Chapterhouse remains a secret. In previous books, Herbert revealed how elements of Christianity, Islam, and Zen Buddhism have survived mankind’s epic migration throughout the galaxy. In this novel, he introduces a sect of Jews who have secretly preserved their faith for tens of thousands of years and have allied themselves with the Bene Gesserit.
The previous Dune novels were often told from multiple perspectives by jumping around among members of an ensemble cast, each player representing one of myriad competing factions in the complex galactic society. In Chapterhouse: Dune, however, probably 80 percent of the story follows the Bene Gesserit Mother Superior Darwi Odrade as she devises a plan to deal with the Honored Matre crisis and ensure the survival of her order. This results in the reader sitting through an endless series of meetings among the Bene Gesserit bureaucracy. The dialogue, both verbal and interior, is mostly written as a string of quotable philosophical aphorisms, each of which could serve as the motto for an intellectual embroidered sampler. No author in fiction writes these aphorisms better than Herbert, but the cumulative effect is one of tedious verbosity. Nothing much resembling action happens in the first three quarters of the book. The intense focus on the Bene Gesserit administration also severely limits the scope and fascination of the Dune universe. The Honored Matres must remain a mystery, so they barely appear. The Tleilaxu have been wiped out but for one survivor. Sheeana, the Fremen girl who can talk to worms, was one of the most interesting characters from Heretics, but she only plays a minor supporting role here. Duncan Idaho is on hand as usual, but his presence feels more obligatory than necessary.
Another mark against Chapterhouse is that it ends on a cliffhanger and therefore feels incomplete. The final chapter, deliberately vague and a little silly, adds insult to injury. Herbert intended to write a sequel but died before he could complete it. His son Brian Herbert has published many posthumous Dune novels since Frank’s death, among them two sequels to Chapterhouse entitled Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune. (I haven’t read them.) If you enjoyed the first five books of Herbert’s Dune series, then by all means read Chapterhouse: Dune, but don’t expect it to be as great as the novels that preceded it.