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2.7 out of 5 stars72
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on 9 February 2011
Having reviewed the first of the two sequels to the Frank Herbert's original series, I'd like to consider this single book on its own merits and not let the inadequacies of "Hunters of Dune" overshadow it.

Bearing that in mind, this one's still not very good. Sorry.

The writing, as before, is very average but serves the purpose. One extremely strong positive for this book is that the story really moves along, it does have one or two surprises, and there is none of the redundant material or repetition that marred its predecessor. The fairly flat writing serves it fairly well, as an already twisty plot could easily be marred by overcomplicated prose.

I'm disappointed that the writers decided to make two books out of this story, as it just wasn't necessary. This should have been one book with 50% of the first scrapped. It would have made a long novel, but a more focused, enjoyable, and better-paced one.

My primary bugbear is the same that utterly obliterated my hopes for the first instalment: the inclusion of elements from the prequels. I am certain that Frank Herbert harboured no intention of reviving the 'thinking machines' for his series' grand finale. The references to the Butlerian Jihad and the removal of technology from his stories to me was a literary device in order to create story about mankind's future, without it being tech-focused (which, realistically, you can't do without something like the Jihad in your story). I just think that Herbert Jnr et al needed an adversary to frame their ideas for the sequels - evident in the fact that the machines hardly make an appearance except at the end. Why on earth they didn't just surprise us with the Face Dancers/Handlers as an adversary I don't know, because this is a much more believable continuation of the previous stories. I'm not even sure an 'outside Enemy' was referenced in Herbert Snr's books following the appearance of the Honored Matres. I expect that they just wanted to link back to their weaker prequels to share credit for the exceptional originals, encompasing them but not surpassing them.

Having read the first book I knew that the prequel machines would be a big blight on this one too, and was prepared for it. The same goes for the awful glut of ghola clones, resulting in the revivification of the original cast. It helped me enjoy it a little more, knowing that there were going to be so many poor elements in the book. But being prepared for disappointment is not a good prelude to any novel.

There are further good points though, namely some very decent characterisation of previously neglected characters. Doctor Yueh is a surprisingly deep character, whose sudden betrayal in the original "Dune" comes out of nowhere and has little explanation. But other returning characters are flat reproductions of their originals, and dull to read, being superfluous to the plot: the Baron Harkonnen, Lady Jessica, Chani, etc.. I believe these characters, as well as Paul, are brought back only to remind readers how good the series used to be, as fan service. Very poor, and I'm sure not Frank Herbert's intention.

So, I enjoyed this more than the first of the sequels. It's a better story and better book despite all the above, and I did almost resent having to put it down occasionally - but was otherwise simultaneously irritated and disapointed at the crappier elements.

Overall, not a good legacy for the original series. Having read the full arc, from the Jihad prequel trilogy to the 'climax' duology, I can say that I wish I'd never allowed my experience of the original six books to be contaminated by the Herbert Jnr./Anderson works. Avoid the lot if you haven't already started them.

5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'.
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on 23 February 2010
So we're really expected to believe that Frank Herbert intended to finish of a series of books that he'd spent so many years of his life crafting with anything close to this drivel?! I cant for a second beleive that the hidden enemy was intended to be the machines which had been brushed over at best by FH, and only made into a big part of the series by BH and KJA. I also cant believe that the whole plan from Paul Atreides to the God Emporer had been for Man and Machine to live happily ever after side by side with Duncan Idaho as some sort of super being?!
I'm truly sorry I couldn't keep my curiosity in check and avoided this book, because I think my own conclusions I came up with after reading Chapterhouse were far more satisfying than this dissappointment of a novel. I feel sorry for the trees that gave their life to put this to print, if I could give it any less stars I would...
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on 20 January 2011
This book (and Hunters of Dune) are so far removed from the wonderful magic of the original Dune books that it's not even funny. Sure, Brian and Kevin have different writing styles, so I don't expect them to be like Frank Herbert.

However, they completely messed up the canon, retconning as they pleased, writing whatever pleased them without a single care for the love Frank Herbert put in his books. At the end of Chapterhouse Dune, it is revealed that Daniel and Marty are renegade Face Dancers who have created their own wills/identities, breaking free of their Tleilaxu masters. However, here, Brian and Kevin have changed them into robots bent on world domination. No, really.

In God Emperor of Dune, Leto's Golden Path is revealed, he did not want humankind to stagnate, so he deliberately became the Tyrant to precipitate the Famine Times and the Scattering, so that humans would not be ruled by one person ever again. This was thrown away when Brian and Kevin decided to create the ultimate Gary Stu - the ultimate Duncan Idaho ghola/Erasmus/super-dee-dup[er Kwisatz Haderach. This made me do a major facepalm. The ending was utterly ruined by this!

Brian and Kevin also played around with the idea of Other Memory by having the Baron Harkonnen ghola have Alia in his OM! Dude, OM does NOT work in reverse! Ancestors CAN'T gain memory of their descendants, unless they Share, but Harkonnen didn't, Alia just showed up one fine day in his mind and tries to drive him crazy!

Basically, Brian and Kevin have turned Dune 7 into a massive trainwreck, and it is questionable if they even have the notes of Frank Herbert that they CLAIM to have found. Personally, I don't believe it. If you like Dune, stick with the 6 books Frank Herbert wrote, and if you want supplementary material, read the Dune Encyclopedia, because all the new 'Dune' books just read like poorly-written fanfiction.
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on 31 January 2008
For all readers new to the Dune not fall into the mistake of assuming that Herbert's original six novels bear any resemblance to this hackneyed, ill-conceived, rushed, canon-contradictory, cash-mining, turgid, terminally thoughtless "work" by these two "authors". Imagine, if you will, a newly-discovered and incomplete Shakespeare play that someone had asked Ernie Wise to finish - yes, it's THAT bad! One star is at least five more than it deserves.
Thank you, rant over!
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on 22 November 2008
I too have been waiting for this book to appear for some 20 odd years Then here it was, or here they were.

That was the first thing, in a long line of things, that annoyed me.

How on earth did DUNE 7 manage to become DUNE 7.1 and DUNE 7.2? One earlier reviewer stated that they thought it scandalous that some of us may think that the authors might try to milk this series for profit. The proof is right there sunshine, the proof is right there. This was one of the MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS EVER, we did not need warm ups, reminders or other superflua to 'get us back up to speed' no, we just needed the story.

As to the actual story, if you are prepared to grace it with such a honourable descriptive, no way pal. My review title says it all. Not in a million years did Frank Herbert intend his story to end this way. I can see that there would be a reason why the Duncan Ghola character had been kept around all that time. I can see him as the ultimate Super Kwizatz Haderach. Can even see that this as being one of the only true and original Frank Herbert ideas to weave its way through this mess of instant toilet paper. It makes more sense as such because not only has he been around for ages, he has all of his serial Ghola memories inside him. So in a FH kind of way, it would fit in the 'real' DUNE universe

As for the rest...

Characters appear for no real reason, then get killed. Characters appear for no real reason, do not get killed but do NOTHING. Characters who have been around for a while (by this time, about 4 books worth of 'aroundness'!) certainly long enough for you to get used to how they act and react...suddenly start to act and react totally differently to any previous description! Usually in the most stupid and brain dead manner possible.

Then of course, there are the characters (and events) that have never appeared in any previous (i.e. FH's canonical) DUNE books and yet, somehow, are totally vital to the conclusion of the plot. When I read those part, I felt like I'd watched an episode of COLUMBO and the murderer had ended up being the director of that episode!

And as for the hidden enemy..?

Am I the only person that has noticed. I know that I cannot be but it certainly seems like it.

The whole of the new sections of this book (i.e. the sections that were not a part of Frank's original notes) shine out as clear as day to me because they refer to parts of the 'supposed Dune' story that only happened in the prequels written by the same two hack, no hopers. The hidden enemy, as revealed in these two works of travesty, is not even hinted at in the original six books.

If FH had wanted the great thinking machines to be the secret enemy that even the Honoured Matres were running from, would there not have been just a few more clues?

Sorry, it just does not work. A total crime of rancid cack, wrapped in glossy-cover graphics - the 'BATTLEFIELD EARTH movie' of the book world, if you get my drift.

I would only give it half a star if I could because, technically, it has all the things a book needs...
Two covers, a spine, loads of sheets of paper, words...etc.
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on 1 January 2015
Being left with the Chapterhouse cliffhanger for all those years was really hard to take, so initially I was hesitant but eager to read the two books ending Frank Herbert's saga.

I can honestly say I was willing to give them a chance and although the bar was set high (I've yet to find a better novel than the original dune) I went into this so wanting to enjoy the novels and reach closure on the series.

It must have been a difficult decision whether or not to write the sequels to the incredible original Dune books for Frank's son (not so much Anderson). It was clearly a risk, after all, he will not have wished to taint the legacy and no doubt wanted to give the world the ending to this magnificent series that they craved.


It was the wrong decision Brian and Kevin. However well intentioned it may well have been you should have left the series alone.

Publish the notes, show us what Frank planned and give them to the fans yes. But instead you wrote some school-boy take on this special, wonderful series of books. Established characters with the depth (suddenly) of a puddle. Dialogue so simple and meritless and completely alien to what we came to love from Frank Herbert. Maybe you couldn't have copied his style (like you said) but knowing this you should never have tried. Pulp sci-fi carrying the "Dune" title should simply not have happened.

I wanted with every fibre of my being to love the two sequels from Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. Heretics and Chapterhouse were incredible stories, and to be left without an end and answers was terrible! But with Dune being my favourite series of books bar none and the sequels (and prequels) being just so very very poor - I wish they'd left well alone.

In summary, terrible books in comparison to the originals and pulply cheap sci-fi if reviewed outside of that.

Lastly, Frank, if you are reading this up in heaven...I'm sorry to have a go at your lad. Its just that I loved your books so much and would have given anything to read your ending to the series.
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on 27 April 2013
Having read the Dune prequels and Hunters of Dune, I didn't have high expectations for the writing and continuity with the originals. However, I did expect a book that although not exceptional may at least be entertaining and readable. How wrong I was!!! Just to actually finish the book required a massive conscious effort and felt more like i was doing it out of some debt of servitude to the brilliance of the original books (and Frank Herbert).

Why so bad?

The original books focused on character driven narrative, believable '3D' characters, introspection and intelligence from the characters. plots with in plots, an intriguing universe and loosely eluded to history. The writing style contained carefully thought out internal monologues and conversations between characters. At times it was very easy to get lost in the story if you weren't concentrating (Dune 4 being a good example) but the shear richness of the story meant that the books were always very rewarding to read and re-read.

Sandworms of Dune contains NONE of the above.

Cardboard, pointless and changed characters: All the characters that FH built-up up in heretics and chapter house are turned into shadows of their former selves. The worst example being of the intolerant Tleilaxu Syctale master deciding after thousands of years that the 'unclean' other humans aren't so bad after all. Other characters such as the ghola children are seeming brought back into the story for no reason, in some cases (Dr Yeuh) the characters in the book seem to share this concern.

A lazy plot which is boring and full of holes: The whole machine's being the outside enemy plot is not only incredibly unlikely to be FH idea but also incredibly boring. The machines don't seem to have any motive other then to simply try to destroy all humans (until the end when an even more boring motive becomes apparent). Most the story just plods along, towards an inevitable meeting between the machines and humans. The ghola children are born, built up in the plot, then go nowhere. The ending is simply terrible, poorly thought out and leaves you with none of the sanctification that the FH books did.

Explanatory prose: The authors endless need to explain characters motives every time they have a conversation or thought. It's as if the authors believe the readers are incapable of remembering who the characters are from one microchapter to another. The last quarter of the book is the worst as you have to wade your way through this endless drivel. On a more insidious levels I would suggest that most of this simply serves to try to connect the story to events in the never ending conveyor belt of Dune prequels.

Overall, it seems highly unlikely that this book is even remotely related to what FH had in mind for the story. The one plus point I will give the book is it's so bad as to make me appreciate the brilliance of the originals even more, especially the books like Dune 2 and 4 which I previously enjoyed less.
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on 3 September 2007
The original Dune books were full of intrigue and scheming as the various factions attempted to manipulate and deceive each other, with layers of nuance and meaning depending on particular choices of words or carefully controlled body language. You certainly always felt that the protagonists were a lot smarter than you, and a lot more switched on. Unfortunately, some time in the last few years, a terrible plague swept through the Dune universe, reducing everyone's ability to understand things that aren't made blindingly obvious to that of your average 21st century 14 year old.

The result is not a total disaster, but on the other hand, if my idea of top quality entertainment was shouting out "it's behind you" I'd go to the local panto.

Let's face it, anyone who's come this far in the series is going to buy this to find out what happens, and in that respect the book finally ties up all the big loose ends that were left hanging at the end of Chapterhouse. Whether or not you'll be left thinking that the resolution is a satisfactory (or even believeable) one is another matter. Too many characters and factions suddenly change the ingrained behaviour of a lifetime within the last few chapters, while others simply conform to irrational stereotypes, and a number of the key people from the last novel turn out to be essentially pointless fluff. To be honest, by the end I was hoping that Omnius would finally win just to have done with it.

Having said all that, I'm glad they wrote it, because it does finally bring some closure to the storyline after all these years. Kudos to the authors for even attempting it.
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on 16 March 2010
All of the Herbert sons attempt to recreate the world of Dune have failed. Frank Herbert was a writer who based his books in psychology and philosophy; those following on attempt to promote an over-explained, poorly recognised narrative as such - it isn't.
I have read nearly all of Frank Herberts books and short stories and despair at these imitations.
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on 11 July 2009
Brian and Kevin, you should both be pelted with rotten fruit in the town square. Why is this so bad? How can you possibly ruin the Dune-iverse more than your last feeble effort i.e. Hunters? Why didn't the editor make you work harder? Cheap cash in, second rate writing, plot off the wall, such RUBBISH bad guys, cloning everyone silliness, mooching about in a silly invisible spaceship, and so forth. 1/5 and a big NO.
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