Brain Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson - "Dune: The Battle of Corrin" a review by P.O.C.
I must admit, I am biased on my book review of “Dune: The Battle of Corrin”. I LOVED it! It was the climax of the Dune Butlerian Jihad trilogy. I will also add that if you are interested in reading the Corrin book, you should start with the first book of the series, “Dune: The Butlerian Jihad”. First, I must explain a little of the series.
The original Dune books where written by Frank Herbert. The last book he completed was “Chapterhouse: Dune” which was written in the mid eighties. Unfortunately, the book ended with a cliff hanger ending and Frank Herbert died before he could write the next book. The Dune books are written of the future of mankind set tens of thousands of years into the future, and in the stories, there where references to an apocalyptic event that happened in its past, the “Butlerian Jihad”. It was never explained what happened during the Butlerian Jihad other then in the broadest terms of mankind defeating machines. With Frank Herbert’s death went the death of the book series. But all was not lost. Copious Dune notes written by Frank Herbert where found by his son Brian Herbert. Notes about what happened in the Butlerian Jihad and what happened in the Dune universe after Chapterhouse.
Now step into the picture Kevin J. Anderson (an accomplished Sci Fi writer of many books). Together with Brian Herbert, they took the notes Frank Herbert wrote and turned them into to separate trilogies. The first trilogy was on the events leading up to the first book “Dune”. The second trilogy told the story of that watershed event in Dune’s history, the Butlerian Jihad. The final book in that series is “Dune: The Battle of Corrin”.
The Butlerian Jihad books chronicle the lives and events of some dozen characters and spans over one hundred years. This is one reason why I think the series is so enjoyable to read. It has a big, rich universe in which the reader can be fully immersed. Brain and Kevin do a fantastic job of making the worlds in the Dune come alive with memorable characters and fantastic events. I personally believe they have kept the series inline with the writings of Frank Herbert and the reader can step effortlessly from one the original Dune books to these later books. Are the two series written exactly the same way? No, and it would not really be possible as Dune was first written in 1965 and Chapterhouse was written in 1985. Times have changed and so have writing styles. But the universe, the backgrounds, the people and the plots are of a similar vein. I truly believe Frank Herbert would approve of these stories.
The Battle of Corrin concludes the epic battle humanity has been waging with the thinking machines, and the “Titans”. Titans are “cymeks,” beings with machine/robot bodies and disembodied human brains. The cymeks had once sided with “Omnius,” a highly advanced super computer and thinking machine, as they ruled over humanity. But a rebellion of the cymeks from the machines and the death of a child changed the entire course of humanity with a hundred year’s war fought with billions slain on hundreds of worlds. It was indeed an epic three way struggle with a winner-take-all ending.
With all of this going on, it would seem impossible to keep a focus on a few individuals and their struggles. You might think the humanity of it all would be drowned out, but that was not the case at all. It was still quite possible to care for the lead characters and indeed, more then once I was compelled to race ahead into the book to find out what happened to a particular character!
For Dune fans it is a must read, the foundations of all of the legends, all the various orders (for instance, the Bene Gesserit) and all hardware in the Dune series can be found in this trilogy. Who invented glow globes? Who invented Holzman shields? Or who first found the way to “fold space” and travel the galaxy in the blink of an eye? Where did the Fremen come from? How did they develop the capacity to ride the sand worms of Arrakis (Dune)? The answers to all of these and many more questions call all be found in the Butlerian Jihad trilogy and in the final book “Dune: The Battle of Corrin.”
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