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Dune: The Machine Crusade Hardcover – September 16, 2003
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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.
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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We see many past events that are talked about in Franks Herbert's original book(s), come to fruition here: The beginning of the Melange spice exportation (which will eventually have the entire galaxy consumed by it's hypnotic and addictive influence) Space folding, the beginning stages of the Zennsunni and Zennshite refugees on the planet of Arrakis and subsequent start of the Fremen, the rise of the first man to ever ride a sandworm, the legendary Selim Wormrider and the continuing stories and expansion of the Harkonnen and Atreides families.
As with The Butlerian Jihad, this book is not without it's pitfalls, many of which will be a turn off for some readers. The writing is lackluster at times, a lot of the dialog ranges from bad to downright laughable, and certain scenarios aren't properly fleshed out and seemed rushed. Also, as with the last book, there are certain situations that happen and then are re-told over and over again, making it redundant at times. There are certain moments in this book that made me roll my eyes and audibly exclaim "Oh my God, that's bad!" Like when Serena Butler returns to Salusa Secundus at the beginning of the book and after a speech, spreads her arms, begins to cry and says something to the effect of: "my precious Jihidists" To some, these things will be a turn off and to an extent it makes me understand some of the poor reviews that this book has been given. But with that said though, I don't think it's fair to totally write the book off because it was still very entertaining in a "summer blockbuster at the movies" type of way, and it expands on the Dune Universe in epic fashion and I found myself not wanting to put the book down!
This book certainly isn't going to be for everybody, and if you are expecting the masterpiece that was Frank Herbert's original DUNE, then you will be sorely disappointed, but if you can be forgiving of certain shortcomings and are looking for more adventures and back-story out of the Dune universe, then definitely check this book out! I'm looking forward to checking out part three of the prequel trilogy next, The Battle of Corrin.
Too bad Hollywood hasn't found a good way to convert these to a movie or television series. Syfy did well with the original Dune but destroyed Children of Dune.