Don't even think about reading House Harkonnen
without reading its predecessor Dune: House Atreides
; anyone who does so risks sinking in the sands between Frank Herbert's original Dune
and this prequel trilogy by Herbert's son, Brian, and Kevin J. Anderson. The purist argument that had Frank Herbert wanted to go backwards he would have done so is, at least in part, negated by the sheer narrative verve, and by the fact that Anderson and Brian Herbert manage to pull some genuine surprises out of this long-running space-opera. House Harkonnen
is a massive book, and there are places where it becomes plot heavy, but in following the story of Duke Leto Atreides and the conflicts with House Harkonnen, the authors succeed in spinning a gripping adventure while going off in some unexpected directions. Anderson, who has written many successful Star Wars novels, has noted his particular admiration for The Empire Strikes Back
, and his desire to emulate that film's dark take on the genre. In House Harkonnen
, the conflict encompasses the tragedy of nuclear war, marked by grief and horror, vengeance and torment, and all while the complex intrigues continue to unfold. As one character puts it:
Everything has its cost. We pay to create our future, we pay for the mistakes of the past. We pay for every change we make--and we pay just as dearly if we refuse to change.
Ultimately this is the theme of a compelling game of consequences, choices, and responsibility, a study of Leto's growth into power and the price of politics and love. --Gary S. Dalkin, Amazon.co.uk
From Library Journal
As the young Duke Leto Atreides seeks to live up to his late father's expectations, his rivals plot to bring about the downfall of House Atreides. Plots and counterplots involving the debauched Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, his Bene Gesserit enemies, and the treacherous schemers of the enigmatic Bene Tleilax escalate the tension among factions of a fragile galactic empire. Though power seems to reside in the hands of the emperor and his elite armies, the fate of many worlds hinges on the destiny of a single planetDthe desert world known as Arrakis, or Dune. Continuing the story begun in Dune: House Atreides (LJ 10/15/99), coauthors Herbert and Anderson reveal the prehistory of the late Frank Herbert's classic Dune novels. Strong characterizations, consistent plotting, and rich detail provide this second of a trilogy of prequels with the same evocative power of the original novels. Libraries should anticipate a demand from old series fans as well as newcomers to the world of Dune. Highly recommended.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.