Heretics of Dune: Dune Chronicles, Book 5 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Heretics of Dune, the fifth installment in Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi series.
On Arrakis, now called Rakis, known to legend as Dune, 10 times 10 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 a heresy called love.
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|Listening Length||18 hours and 4 minutes|
|Narrator||Simon Vance, Scott Brick|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 14, 2008|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,166 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#65 in Space Opera Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#148 in Space Operas
#348 in Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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Heretics takes place some 1,500 years after the brunt of what we read in God Emperor of Dune, and right out of the gate Herbert hits you with a boatload of tantalizing worldbuilding. This is not the universe we knew when Leto ruled, though his shadow hangs over it still... Lost Ones have begun returning from The Scattering of humankind. With this unknown factor of evolution yet to play their cards, the other forces of the universe are on edge. The Tleilaxu here feature their most prominent role in the series thus far, and we take a much deeper look at the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood (especially as they compare to the new thread of the Honored Matres). We round out our main story bits with Miles Teg, the Sisterhood's most reliable weapon, a fresh Duncan Idaho ghola, and Sheeana, a young girl on Rakis with the ability to control the sandworm Shai-hulud (or is it Shaitan...?).
In true Frank Herbert fashion, the plot is dense and full of complexities that leave me desiring to start from the beginning as soon as I finish. There is always a feeling of more lying just beneath the surface; a feeling I love. He remains a master at mixing a far-future setting with Eastern mysticism and metaphysical psychedelia. The result is perhaps one of the most believable science-fiction worlds out there, and I think this stems from how seriously Frank takes his work. It is amazing how much thought, how many hidden questions and subtle answers he is still injecting into this story.
The Dune universe has a depth and richness that marks Herbert's worldbuilding skills as matched by perhaps only Tolkien himself. The story of Arrakis and the peoples of its universe is one that is endlessly fascinating and complex. In a story that spans millennia, I think back on previous books with a sense of nostalgia bordering on awe; and experience the current story with the sense that there is always more to be revealed. Considering how much I enjoyed God Emperor and Heretics, I am very much looking forward to Chapterhouse after all these years.
"We are not looking at a new state of matter but at a newly recognized relationship between consciousness and matter, which provides a more penetrating insight into the workings of prescience. The oracle shapes a projected inner universe to produce new external probabilities out of forces that are not understood. There is no need to understand these forces before using them to shape the physical universe. Ancient metal workers had no need to understand the molecular and submolecular complexities of their steel, bronze, copper, gold, and tin. They invented mystical powers to describe the unknown while they continued to operate their forges and wield their hammers."
So what about Heretics of Dune?
Well, lets first start with the positives. Once again, it is beautifully written and the characters are compelling. Odrade is easily my favorite out of this book and I've enjoyed every chapter that she was in and I enjoyed her interactions with Sheeana and Sheeana herself was a great character as well and I would also say that all of her chapters were just as enjoyable. The Duncan Idaho ghola easily comes in at third. I didn't think Teg was as interesting as other people seem to think but he wasn't a bad character at all. His interactions with Duncan Idaho make him a lot more interesting and really help to elevate him above the archetype of the retired veteran forced back into active duty. The plot is interesting once it actually starts up...
But then that brings us to the negatives, which would mainly be the beginning and ending of this book. I'll lay it out here without spoilers first. Basically, the first 130 pages is a choppy mess of exposition, info-dumps, and character background. The previous books always did a much better job with this, so I'm not really sure what the problem was here. And then the ending was just a choppy mess. Had the beginning been trimmed and edited a little, and had the ending been expanded upon, this would have been a much better book.
I can't get into my problems in detail with the ending without spoilers, so if you haven't read at least the first five Dune books, skip this paragraph. You have been warned. So anyway, onward with spoilers. Basically, in the last few chapters, Teg gathers all of his old war buddies together and they agree to help him and he says he needs to steal a no-ship. And in the next chapter he has that no-ship and he is with Lucilla and Duncan and they're heading back to Arrakis. It would've been nice to have gotten a chapter of them stealing that no-ship, and then we get another chapter where he reunites with Lucilla and Duncan. I mean, okay, I get that the book was maybe getting a bit too long and everything and maybe it was felt that how he got the no-ship wasn't nearly as interesting as what came after, and...I guess that's fine if Frank Herbert felt that way. But that's not even the worst of it. The worst is that Arrakis gets destroyed and it felt so abrupt to me and we didn't even get to see it. He just goes to Arrakis, gets the worm, gathers Sheeana and Odrade, and they leave and the next chapter Arrakis is destroyed. It would've been like if in God Emperor of Dune, we didn't get to see Leto II die, but instead just had the last chapter of Siona telling everyone that through an assassination attempt, Leto II fell into a river and melted in there. Paul Attreides/The Preacher was the most important character in this whole series, and in book 3, he may not have gotten the best death scene ever written in any book, but at least we got to see it happen. But nope, Arrakis just blows up off screen and Teg stays behind while it blows up. He's not the best character in the Dune series, but he was still important in this book and I still liked him and would have wanted to see his death. Given that most of this series is told from an omniscient point of view, giving him a chapter where we see his epic sacrifice would have been easy. In the first Dune we even got a chapter of Liet Kynes dying in the desert and arguing with a hallucination of his father. So what's the problem here?
So is Heretics of Dune worth reading or should you stop at God Emperor of Dune, since you get closure with God Emperor and you don't get it at all with the subsequent books? That's a tough call to make. A lot of this book does seem like buildup to the next installment, so whether it's worth reading (and whether I'd read it again if I ever revisit the Dune books) is going to depend heavily on how good the content of Chapterhouse Dune is despite the lack of any resolution.
Lastly, this review is based on the Kindle version, as I own all 6 Dune books on my Kindle. I had no issues with the formatting of any of the Dune books the way other people seem to have. The excerpts at the beginning of the chapters were formatted best in Dune and God Emperor of Dune, but the excerpts are in a serviceable format in the other 4 books. My only complaint would be that Children of Dune forces a smaller font, at least it did for me, and I don't know why. And the first Dune book, you have no way of determining how long the chapter is before you read it (and the page numbering for it is probably messed up too). But aside from those issues, if you own a Kindle and you want to read these books on it, I'd say go for it.
Top reviews from other countries
I am almost at the end of the book now and the few pages remaining are my only concern: I'd like to think that there was quite a lot more to go. I guess this means that this is a really good extension to the Dune saga.