- Series: Dune (Book 5)
- Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Ace (August 15, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441328008
- ISBN-13: 978-0441328000
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 224 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Heretics of Dune Mass Market Paperback – August 15, 1987
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Praise for Heretics of Dune
“A monumental piece of imaginative architecture…indisputably magical.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner
“Appealing and gripping...Fascinating detail, yet cloaked in mystery and mysticism.”—The Milwaukee Journal
Praise for Dune
“I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings.”—Arthur C. Clarke
“A portrayal of an alien society more complete and deeply detailed than any other author in the field has managed...a story absorbing equally for its action and philosophical vistas.”—The Washington Post Book World
“One of the monuments of modern science fiction.”—Chicago Tribune
“Powerful, convincing, and most ingenious.”—Robert A. Heinlein
“Herbert’s creation of this universe, with its intricate development and analysis of ecology, religion, politics and philosophy, remains one of the supreme and seminal achievements in science fiction.”—Louisville Times
From the Back Cover
With millions of copies sold worldwide, Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune books stand among the major achievements of the human imagination.
The planet Arrakis -- now called Rakis -- is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying. And the children of Dune's children awaken from empire as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love...
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The empire fell into chaos before the return of the sandworms, due to the scarcity of spice. This created the "Scattering" in which much of the population sought the extreme edges of the universe to find other sources of spice or to expand the location of humanity. As the book opens, many people have returned but the exodus had changed them. There is also a new force to deal with in the guise of the Honored Matres. They are very similar to the Bene Gesserit but the Matres use sex as a weapon and force of rule.
Duncan Idaho was the swordmaster of Duke Leto centuries earlier. As if raising him from the dead, the Bene Gesserit have been using gholas, or clones, of Duncan through the years. But the Tleilaxu, a race which creates gholas, have always assassinated the Duncan Idaho gholas before they reach full adulthood. However,the Bene Gesserit now have an elaborate plan in place to protect the most recent reincarnation of their ghola.
In the meantime, on Rakis, a child is discovered by the priests that can control the sandworms. The Bene Gesserit hear of this and immediately take over Rakis in the hopes of controlling the young girl. The Honored Matres also find this out and seek to destroy the ghola and the girl and Rakis. Needless to say, this is the setup for battles to be fought and destinies to be determined. Many entangled plots resolve into an outcome that makes this book yet another great adventure in the Duneverse created by Frank Herbert.
HERETICS takes place 1,500 years after the events of GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE. Leto II is long dead and his empire has broken up into a loose series of overlapping confederations with no real central authority. Remnants of the Old Empire -- the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, the Bene Tleilax confederacy, the Spacing Guild, the machine-builders of Ix, and the Fish Speakers -- still exist, but enfeebled, in competition with each other, and with none playing a dominant role. So when aggressive forces from the Scattering -- the great migration of humanity beyond the boundaries of the known universe, which occurred after Leto II's death -- begin to return to the core planets from which they fled fifteen centuries before, there is not much to stand in their way. These forces, called Honored Matres, are a sort of twisted offshoot of the Bene Gesserit; a massive sisterhood whose members possess extraordinary physical and mental powers, but who are vicious, arrogant, amoral and bent on subjugating everyone in their path. The story revolves around the efforts of the Bene Gesserit to resist this invasion while simultaneously investigating a mysterious occurrence on the planet Arrakis -- now called Rakis -- involving a young girl named Sheanna with the seeming power to communicate and command the spiceworms there. On top of this, the sisters are trying to prevent the assassination of their "ghola," Duncan Idaho, the perennial character of the DUNE series (some version of him appears in all 5,000 years of the story's history), who they intend to breed with Sheanna. To this end they bring their Mentat-warrior, Miles Teg, a descendant of House Atriedes, out of retirement to protect Duncan and awaken his pre-death memories. In the mean time, the sly and mysterious Tleilaxu, who need to be courted as allies against the Honored Matres, have, as always, plans of their own, plans which must be reconciled with those of the Bene Gesserit if the "whores of the Scattering" are to be defeated.
If all this sounds nebulous and complicated, it is. Herbert's universe, 5,000 years after the events of the first book, is still a complicated and intrigue-ridden place, full of economic, political and religious forces of every kind, not to mention what he once called "stacked treacheries." Unlike the original book, however, everyone's motives are so well-hidden that even the reader is often left guessing as to their final goals. The pace of the book is uneven, and some of the chapters are over-written and waste too much time on needless description or self-indulgent internal monologues. In many ways, however, this book represents a welcome semi-return to Herbert's original form. The trouble with DUNE MESSIAH, CHILDREN OF DUNE and GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE was the ever-increasing sluggishness and complexity of his prose writing and dialogue, which became so mystical, pompous and unclear in meaning as to be almost unreadable. The characters spoke in riddles and epigrams, trading non-sequiturs with each other while plunging into deep metaphysical internal monologues. Whenever a man is as deliberately mysterious as Herbert was with GOD EMPEROR, I always wonder if in fact he has anything to say at all. But HERETICS features more action, better dialogue, and more general clarity than any other book since the original DUNE. It's true he makes the Bene Gesserit too powerful, with the result that the enemies who are supposed to be so fearful -- the Tlielaxu and the Honored Matres -- aren't as menacing as Herbert intends -- but you can't have everything. I still maintain that Herbert's original universe was more interesting than anything he came up with later, especially in terms of the characters, and he never again achieved that particular genius of prose he rose to in the first book, but at least here he pulled largely away from the god-awful, soggy pseudo-philosophy that ruined the others.