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House Harkonnen (Dune: House Trilogy, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – August 28, 2001


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Frequently Bought Together

House Harkonnen (Dune: House Trilogy, Book 2) + House Corrino (Dune: House Trilogy, Book 3) + House Atreides (Dune: House Trilogy, Book 1)
Price for all three: $21.57

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Product Details

  • Series: Prelude to Dune (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553580302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553580303
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Second in a triology that serves as prequel to the phenomenal Dune, this collaboration from Herbert, son of Dune creator Frank Herbert, and sf novelist Anderson investigates the legendary Harkonnen dynasty.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

There are too many discrepancies in characters and times between this book and Frank’s books.
Walk Softly
The plotting is thick as befits a Dune novel and there are many characters, but authors Herbert and Anderson juggle it all very well and it's quite a good read.
LUIS
If you've gotten to this point, you've presumably read the six original Dune novels by Frank Herbert as well as the first House book.
Brandon J. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Spann on October 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Perusing the reviews for both House Atreides and House Harkonnen it is easy to find a common current of disatisfaction. It has in fact been noted by all of the great Frank Herbert's readership that with his passing, so to went the genius behind the most imaginative and captivating science fiction series of all time. But isn't it lovely that Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson have accepted the all but impossible task of finishing the story? While neither H.A. or H.H. approach the mastery of the original Dune (deserving of 10 stars) or the philisophical complexity of God Emperor Dune (simply brilliant), they serve the story and the readers admirably by simply giving us a window into the Pre-Paul world of Arrakis. With familiar characters, explained mysteries, and a fast paced, entertaining gait, House Harkonnen is cause for the true Dune afficianado to give cheer. What's more, I recently read Dune again, and found that my further understadning of the characters gave the original series an additional depth which certainly isn't necessary, but nonetheless entirely pleasing. Naysayers will paint this book and H.A. as borrowed and simple, but in truth they reframe and carry on with all the reverenance and stylistic approximation they could possibly muster.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Thomas on December 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The biggest problem with the Dune prequels is that they do not have the engaging writing style of the originals. Of course, Frank Herbert is dead, but his son is not completely incompetant. He knows how to tell a story, and that's what "House Harkonnen" does well. You have to read "House Atreides" to understand what's going on. This book ties up some loose ends left by that book, but leaves just as many. These, I presume, will be tied up in the third prequel "House Corrino". The plot is very complicated and jumps around from character to character, but it is also engaging. You get to find out some interesting history about some of the best characters from the original series, such as the Emporer's aide Count Fenring.
"House Harkonnen" reads like one of those Star Wars novels. This makes sense, because co-author Kevin Anderson has written several Star Wars novels. His writing style (along with Brian Herbert) just doesn't fit in well with the other Dune novels, which were known for their rich style. My other big complaint with this book is that it is chock-full of torture scenes. Why? I mean, we get it - the Harkonnens are evil. Is it necessary to give all the grisly details? Frank Herbert was far more subtle and effective in portraying good vs. evil. He did not have to resort to shock value.
Still, this book is interesting, at least for its storyline and its insights into Dune's history. I think it's a worthy read for hardcore Dune fans
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Walk Softly on May 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book two stars based on its own merits plus one for the attempt. In all fairness, I don’t think anyone could continue Frank Herbert’s work with his expertise, and I’m impressed that someone tried. Were I to compare this with Frank Herbert’s work it would receive half a star. This was a quick, easy read that provided entertainment for a few hours and let me again enjoy the world of Caladan, Dune and the Atreides dukedom.
Unfortunately, the characters were shallow and the short chapters, which bounced from subplot to subplot (in fact, I don’t think there really was a plot, just lots of subplots), became tedious. Some themes, such as Duke Leto’s concubine’s disgruntlement with her status and plotting for marriage so she could be a duke’s wife and attend high court functions in full regal costume and ensure her son the dukedom (breath) were [not very good]. C’tair’s efforts to free the planet Ix from the Tleilaxu were irrelevant. I mean, who cares about Ix? The Harkonnens were well represented as a disgusting house of animals but lacked the scheming trickery for which the Baron is so well known.
I did not find the depth, political maneuvering, and religious genius here that Frank Herbert gave us. With Herbert’s books my mind was able to see everything he wrote; but with this book it was often just words and no internal pictures. There are too many discrepancies in characters and times between this book and Frank’s books.
Please, if you intend on reading Frank Herbert’s Dune series, start with Dune. Let Frank fill your mind with pictures and let him show you the harsh world of Dune and the honorable Fremen people and especially the ever-conniving Bene Gesserit. You’ll better understand the Atreides power at acquiring loyalty. Don’t go into Frank Herbert’s books with the characterizations given by this book. Come back to this later, if you like.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a big fan of the Dune series, like most folks seem to be who've written reviews here. I was prepared to like this trilogy by Herbert's son, and really gave it the old college try.
I didn't expect the writing to be up to Herbert's standard, but even with that said, the whole book is in serious need of a firm editor's hand.
What killed it for me was finding the word "muscular" used three times on a single page to describe the same person. I suddenly realized that I couldn't waste any more time on something written this badly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S A Mataga on September 30, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book lacks the intellectual and emotional complexity of the original Dune books. Instead we are served up the lightest of pulp fictions, seemingly written for a ten-year-old audience. The characters are cardboard cut-outs - the good guys (Leto, Duncan, Gurney, Rhombur, Abulurd) are plucky and loyal but naive, the bad guys (the Baron, Rabban, the Tleilaxu) sadistic and scheming. We even get the staple of juvenile fiction, the arrogant, aristocratic school bully and his henchman (which seems to draw more on Harry Potter than Dune). The subtleties of character, the internal conflicts and uncertainties in the original books are absent.
In addition, the characters are almost without exception irredeemably stupid in the way they conduct their affairs. Characters react to events and act on impulse based on loyalty/frustration/personal malice rather than carefully thinking out the consequences or thinking strategically. The Baron of the original book would have eaten Leto alive by now. Further, because all the dull thoughts and clumsy actions of the major players are described in prosaic detail there is little in the way of dramatic tension or the sense which the original books had of subtle strategies being played out behind the scenes.
Even if the book is read purely as backfill for the original series, the entire Victor, Fenring, Abulurd, Ix/Tleilaxu, Ginaz and Moritani/Ecaz subplots add nothing substantive other than a growing sense of incredulity. The histories of Duncan and Gurney are so thin and unlikely that I would have preferred to remain in ignorance.
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