From Publishers Weekly
Dune addicts will happily devour Herbert and Anderson's spicy conclusion (after 2003's Dune: The Machine Crusade) to their second prequel trilogy, Legends of Dune. A fearsome robot-engineered plague opens the tumultuous Battle of Corrin, climaxing the century-long galactic war between humans and the computer Omnius's robotic Synchronized Empire. Vorian Atredies, supreme commander of the human Army of the Jihad, initiates the no-holds-barred feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen by exiling Abulurd Harkonnen for cowardice, while Vorian's granddaughter Raquella molds the Sorceress survivors into a biochemically based sisterhood and Ishmael leads his people into Arrakis's sandwormy desert to become Fremen of Dune. All the Dune themes-religion and politics, fanaticism, ecology, opportunism, totalitarianism, the power of myth-exhaustively prepare the way for Frank Herbert's sweeping classic of corruptibility and survival.
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What appears to be the end of the Herbert-Anderson Dune prequels opens 56 years after the death of Serena Butler. The Jihad offers hopes of victory over the sentient machines and peace on human terms to a war-scarred galaxy. Unfortunately, the machine leader Omnius conceives a final, desperate, and, coming from a machine intelligence, ironic plan: biological warfare that spreads devastating plagues across scores of human-settled worlds. Herbert and Anderson vividly depict the plagues' effects, although given such a large cast of characters, some readers may feel the emotional impacts of particular characters' fates are rather blunted. The action rises to a thunderous climax in the account of the Battle of Corrin, which occupies a good third of a long book but more than makes up for previous deficiencies in pacing. At the end, we understand why House Corrino sits on the imperial throne, why House Harkonnen is out of favor, why House Atreides is where it is, and why Ishmael has led the ancestors of the Fremen into the desert wastes of the planet known as Arrakis. Thence on, or back, to Frank Herbert's perdurable classic. As before, a job well done. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved