01/10/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Macmillan Audio. 17.5 hours 18 CDs. Price: $59.99 (UK)ISBN: 978-1-4272-0763-0) - read by Scott Brick.
check out website: http://us.macmillan.com/Book.aspx?isbn=9781427207630
The 'Dune' series in all its glory by Frank Herbert has been magnificent and has entertained us for 40 years in the most intriguing and eloquent way. Added to this, additional novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson have filled in the gaps of the saga, fulfilling our needs to return again to this exciting alternate universe.
Now we've got another sequel of prequel, depending on your temporal point of view, with the novel called 'The Winds Of Dune' written, as per usual, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson using previously unknown notes left by Frank Herbert. In the first instance when being presented with this novel my thoughts were are they kicking the back side out of this? Okay, maybe I'm a bit cynical but how many undiscovered notes are there by Frank Herbert lying out there?
Blasphemy and worse! Burn him at the stake! Proclaim a fatwa! Surely the saga of 'Dune' cannot be questioned? Nonetheless, on the release of this latest edition such were my thoughts and I'm sure there are other dissidents out there! Are my thoughts of dissent against the myth of 'Dune' a mirror of this actual novel? So what exactly do they have with this offering?
One of the problems about writing a novel of this nature is that we already know the whole picture from start to finish. We know what is going to happen and this exercise is merely an attempt to fill in the details. However, that should not deter us. We all know that Germany and Japan lost the Second World War but that hasn't stopped thousands of books being written about it.
'Winds Of Dune' begins where Frank's second book, 'Dune Messiah' finishes. Paul, now Emperor and God, with his holy jihad now having rampaged through the galaxy, his work seemingly done, takes a funny turn and walks off into the deserts of Arrakis. He is blind, probably mad and is in search of redemption. He doesn't return!
With the Emperor out of the way, every power-hungry maniac in the galaxy emerges from the woodwork to stake their claim to the Empire, including former deposed Emperor Shaddam.
A large part of the story involves Paul and his friend Bronso, set some years previously when the former was only 12 years-old. The two boys go on an adventure in the galaxy to meet all sorts of people. They become good friends but events conspire against them and eventually Bronso turns against Paul. This division would get wider with time and would have significant consequences for the future.
A new Emperor takes over the galaxy. Emperor Alia, aligned with Jessica and the sister of Paul, seem to have the task of continuing the myth of the jihad or revolution that has changed society. There are many parallels between this story and the beginnings of Islam, so many parallels in fact that they can't be ignored. As with any revolution that has taken place in history, there's also counter-revolution. One only has to think of Adolf Hitler, The Night of the Long Knives and the SS disposing of the SA. In such a boiling pot there are lots of plots and 'Winds Of Dune' is no different. Bronso returns to defile the name of the Prophet, adding a new twist to the tale.
Considering the initial misgivings about yet another 'Dune' novel, on listening to it they evaporate like 'The Winds Of Dune' into the desert of Arrakis. This is actually a very good story, easy to listen to and becomes more involved as the metaphorically speaking pages are turned. Great care has obviously been taken by the authors to make sure everything matches up and that there are no anachronisms, mistakes or incorrect references. Despite there being lots of nitpickers out there ready to descend like vultures on any error, I don't think they will have much to chew on.
Yes, it is yet another 'Dune' novel. Everyone knows this and so do the authors! However, recognising this and knowing damn sure that they can't get away by shelling out any old pap they had to make it good and that is exactly what they've delivered.
Once again, Macmillan has produced a polished product and with Scott Brick narrating, you can be sure the story is well delivered. Certainly one to recommend.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA