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Dune: The Machine Crusade Hardcover – September 16, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Dune (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 695 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076530158X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765301581
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

SF space opera titans Herbert and Anderson continue to investigate the tantalizing origins of Frank Herbert's Dune universe, this time achieving mixed results in their fifth action-packed collaboration, the bloated but occasionally brilliant second installment of the trilogy that started with Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (2002).Twenty-four years have passed since the independent Thinking Machine, Erasmus, killed Serena Butler's son and began a bloody Holy War against Omnius, a computer "evermind." Leading the League's Army of the Jihad are Primeros Xavier Harkonnen and Vorian Atreides, the son of cymek (human brain/robotic body) General Agamemnon, who, along with his fellow "semi-immortals," shares the computer evermind's wish to eradicate all unnecessary humans but secretly also wants to destroy Omnius. Harkonnen and Atreides loyally report to their Priestess leader, unknowingly the political puppet of Grand Patriarch Iblis Ginjo, a former Earth slave-master. Unfortunately, the short spacehopping chapters neglect some characterizations and more intriguing story lines, such as the Arrakis conflicts swirling around Selim Wormrider's growing outlaw band and the relationship of Erasmus with his human "son," in favor of too long battle segments and extraneous details about the emotionally remote Ginaz mercenary, Jool Noret. Despite the flaws, Dune fans will still enjoy the sweeping philosophical power that surfaces, invoking the senior Herbert's remarkable vision.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Years have passed since the Jihad against the overmind Omnius and the thinking machines blazed up in the instant that the robot Erasmus hurled an innocent toddler to his death. The child's mother, Serena Butler, is still the spiritual leader of the Jihadi, and the former slave foreman Iblis Ginjo is their political and military organizer. Vor Atreides and Xavier Harkonnen lead the fleet, Vor with a common touch and the good looks preserved by life-extending treatment, and Xavier with sheer determination and courage. But the decades-long war has cost countless lives and sapped the people's resolve. When Omnius makes a startling offer of peace, Serena knows it is a terrible mistake to compromise with machine intelligence but can't naysay her exhausted followers. In a desperate move to save the Jihad and the millions of enslaved humans on machine-dominated worlds, Serena goes as the sole ambassador of peace to Omnius' stronghold on the planet Corrin. Meanwhile, an isolated physicist is discovering how to fold space, Selim of Arrakis is building a tribe and a legend, and Iblis is making a demonic deal with the flesh merchants of Tleilax to provide organ replacements for the Jihadi army. Organizing a dozen plotlines takes time, so sit back and enjoy the nearly 700-page ride. Roberta Johnson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

I really can't say enough bad things about this book.
If you're a fan of the original Dune books or any of Frank Herbert's writing, do yourself a favor and NEVER buy anything written by his son about the Dune universe.
By the time I got to page 300 I stopped, there were just too many.
Richard W. Gombert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on October 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's not the plot lines or the scenes or the dialogues that I have trouble with - it's the depth of character and abbreviated format. If the chapters get any smaller we'll be having one / page soon.
I think the real problem is that Herbert II tries to do too much in one book, spreads himself thin, and thereby hurts the overall work. This tale could potentially have had it all: Political intrigue (Serena & Ginjo), Machine life, Norma (my fave!), the beginnings of the Guild, the Bene Geserit, the start of the mysterious bloodline, the rebirth of the human race, the Worm Rider, the Fremen, the Body Snatchers....in the end, it becomes a jumble despite the very sparse prose and strict structure.
If the author was soliciting advice, I would tell him to reduced the number of characters, focus on fewer events and plunge deeper into the remaining narrative and characters. I truly wanted to enjoy this book but the "awe" and "mystery" one felt while engaged in the original series is missing. The "House" trio was - despite the paucity of plot and characters - actually better due to a concentrated focus. Here's hoping for the better results next time.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Gombert on January 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of the FH's Dune (and sequels). I also enjoyed the 'House' prequel trilogy. But, I have big issues with this second book of the 'Jihad' trilogy. It is quite obvious that the authors cobbled this together from bits and pieces that each had written. It is also quite evident that none of the authors, editors, etc. read this book in it's entirety. In the first 100 pages they bludgeon you with events from the first book. Yes many people might need to be reminded of what happened in the preceeding book, but we don't have to be told about the event three or four time with int three or four pages. This got so bad that I started to keep track of them. By the time I got to page 300 I stopped, there were just too many. Examples: On Pg 106 & Pg 108 repeated references to Cogitor Eklo. We are constantly reminded why Iblis married Camie. I got that the first time. On page 310 & 311 Vorian volunteered to do the foot work for Serena's new plans. It says 'Even before Xavier returned from Ix.' But in the previous chapter Xaview is sitting and the Jihad council table when Serena outlines her plans. I suggest that the authors pay more attention to what they're doing in the third book (which I intend to read) and the two post FH books there working on. The other book Dune books BH & KJA have written have been much better than this. I agree with the comment about the 'Encycopeadia Dune', but I don't know the full detail of licensing, copyrights, etc. that may have nesseccitated changes. I hope the authors do a better job on the next books, at least produce something up to there usual standards.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Most people who read these prequels are most likely acquainted with the original works of Dune by Brian's father Frank. And if you aren't yet familiar with the originals then I suggest you start your reading there where it was originally meant to be. As it is, the prequels--started with the three "House" books and later moving back 10,000 years to the Butlerian Jihad--are sad little shades of Frank Herbert's visions.
As Dune fans know, the Machine Crusade is the second book of a trilogy about a war between people and machines. Cliche? Very! That is why Frank Herbert began his Dune novels 10,000 years afterwards, to show the ramifications of such a war. He moved past the cliche and developed a universe that existed without machines.
Here in the Machine Crusade we see the same typical writing of Kevin J. Anderson, whose writing style has very little eloquence compared to Frank Herbert. Frank Herbert's originals are a grand mishmash of intricate plotting that combines many aspects of human society: politics, religion, philosophy, ecology and family interaction. His books were all internal; he created characters that you cared about, that took on a life of their own even when they had such minor parts in the storyline. All these points are lost in the Machine Crusade where Anderson is mostly concerned with the external conflict of the Butlerian Jihad. Think Star Wars or Terminator. Lots of fighting. Lots of dying. No plot except for yet more fighting.
For anyone who has read the originals, you know that telling stories of battle was not Frank Herbert's purpose in these books. It was to tell chilling tales of of tragic characters whose every move impacted all of human society.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As everyone knows by now, this isn't Dune. The first prequel wasn't nor will this one be. The problem isn't that this book doesn't match up well against Dune, it's that it doesn't match up well against its predecessor, the Butlerian Jihad, which itself was mostly solid rather than excellent. The Machine Crusade is a bit of a step backward for this series.
As in Butlerian Jihad, characterization continues to be pretty shallow, with several characters once again making transitions of behavior that really haven't been earned by the story. And some characters are simply skimped on.
The prequel problem of predictability due to simply filling in the design you're aiming at is more on display here than in book one, and while I can understand the need at some point for that last line (no spoilers here), making it the last line emphasizes the dangers in writing prequels--the sense your reader has that the story is being uncovered rather than growing.
The plot remains the strong point, but here too it is weaker than the first book. Some of it is too contrived while some of it takes turns more for the plot's sake than for any natural development. And the structure, which remains cutting back and forth between multiple characters and plotlines, in this book does a disservice to several characters and storylines while in the first book it served to create tension and suspense. We leave one story and when we come back to it too much has happened in the meantime that would be better shown than told or simply assumed. And I have to confess that some of the plot I just didn't get the necessity of. Some sections reinforced ideas that were pretty clear already. Some were simply repetitive, both from this book and the previous one.
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