The first book in the prequel series to Dune. We get to see a young Leto Atreides and the events that shape him into the man he will become. It's a different style than Frank Herbert wrote, but it's a very good book.
This was the first book that Brian Herbert took on to try to carry on his father's legacy. In all honest, I was sceptical at first. However, getting a familiar character back (Duncan Idaho) was nice, and to get some early looks at the worlds that would come to play major roles in the original 6-book series was great!
Brian Herbert ability to keep the same feeling in his novel as were in the original novels was great! I felt like I was still reading the same seemless story that Frank Herbert began to weave all those years ago.
Excellent book by Frank Herbert's successor: his son. This begins the prequel series. Although it focuses on the Atreides, other history is included. Although well-written in its own right, it's flavor is slightly different from Frank's writing.
More than a decade after Frank Herbert's death and the sudden end of his Dune series (with at least another book yet to be written), his son Brian and co-author Kevin Anderson chose to plumb the depths of the Duneiverse and produced this book and its two sequels. Previously, the vast history of Frank Herbert's series was only hinted at in snatches of dialogue, purported encyclopedia entries and in the cult favorite (although disputed as non-canon), Dune Encyclopedia, edited by Dr. Willis E. McNelly. With House: Atreides, Herbert and Anderson attempt to fill in details about the lives of the major players of Dune, namely the families Atreides, Harkonnen and Corrino (the subjects of the trilogy).
Although perhaps not as weighty and significant as the Frank Herbert written works, the book does attempt to fill in the holes of and create a rich backstory for characters only previously seen in Dune. The storytelling is gripping, with enough adventure and intrigue to keep the reader engaged until the end. The fleshing out of minor characters from the original book into major characters in this one and its sequels is an interesting conceit that works well.
An interesting and pleasant enough read that convinced me to move on to the next book and the next. Fans of the original series willing to suspend a bit of criticism and who hoped for more books set in the same universe will not be disappointed by this one.
Acclaimed SF novelist Brian Herbert is the son of Dune author Frank Herbert. With his father, Brian wrote Man of Two Worlds and later edited The Notebooks of Frank Herbert's Dune. Kevin J. Anderson has written many bestsellers, alternating original SF with novels set in the X-Files and Star Wars universes. Together they bring personal commitment and a lifelong knowledge of the Dune Chronicles to this ambitious expansion of a series that transformed SF itself. Dune: House Atreides chronicles the early life of Leto Atreides, prince of a minor House in the galactic Imperium. Leto comes to confront the realities of power when House Vernius is betrayed in an imperial plot involving a quest for an artificial substitute to melange, a substance vital to interstellar trade that is found only on the planet Dune. Meanwhile, House Harkonnen schemes to bring Leto into conflict with the Tleilax, and the Bene Gesserit manipulate Baron Harkonnen as part of a plan stretching back 100 generations. In the Imperial palace, treason is afoot, and on Dune itself, planetologist Pardot Kynes embarks on a secret project to transform the desert world into a paradise.
Dune remains the bestselling SF novel ever, such that three decades later no prequel can possibly have the same impact. Yet in House Atreides the authors have written a compelling, labyrinthine, skillfully imagined extension of the world Frank Herbert created, which ably commands attention for almost 600 pages. It is powerful SF that continues a great tradition, and in itself is a very considerable achievement. --Gary S. Dalkin