THE WINDS OF DUNE
By Brian Herbert & Kevin J.Anderson
Within every revolution, there exist the seeds of its own destruction. This is the overriding message of this new chapter in the Dune saga begun back in 60s with the release of Frank Herbert’s amazing novel, DUNE. Herbert was a farseeing visionary who extrapolated on the future of mankind, interweaving the politics, religions and economic factors that would shape our tomorrows. His vision was brilliant in that it foresaw our ultimate dependency on fossil fuels as a race and our slow, burgeoning awareness that the health of our very planet was tied to the abuses of that hunger. Only he made it all happen on a world called Arrakis and the oil there was something called spice.
During his lifetime, Herbert wrote five sequels to his bestselling book, ending with CHAPTERHOUSE : DUNE. In 1999, Herbert son’s Brian, and writer Kevin J.Anderson, working from notes left by the author, began a new series of prequel novels that would tell the saga of this universe before the events of DUNE. Since that time they have completed more than a half dozen such books. But with THE WINDS OF DUNE, the two have come back to the original series and taken on the challenging task of filling in some missing gaps left in those early books.
Herbert’s second and third sequels were DUNE MESSIAH and CHILDREN OF DUNE respectively. At the end of the first, young Paul Atriedes, known as the Fremen Prophet Muab’ Dib, has come to realize his empire is corrupt and his own legend a major element of that corruption. Blinded by an assassin’s bomb, Paul makes the hard decision to exit the stage of history and walks off into the deep desert of Arrakis to die, leaving behind his younger sister, the insane Alia, to take control of the empire and the raising of his twin babies, Chani, their mother having died in childbirth. When Herbert returned to the saga with CHILDREN OF DUNE, many years had passed and the twins were young adults, being cared for by Princess Irulan and Paul’s own mother, the Lady Jessica.
It was an abrupt change that left many unanswered questions as to the events that took place immediately after Paul’s exodus and fans have long wondered about those early months following the end of DUNE OF MESSIAH. Now, with this book, they have their answers, as it attempts to fill in that missing time and explain some of the dramatic, early repercussions of the Prophet’s death.
Alia is manic in her desire to protect and preserve everything her brother had created, to the point of obsessive cruelty to all who would dare stand in her way. Hearing of her son’s death, Lady Jessica travels to Arrakis to be of assistance and soon begins to fathom the true moral decay that has infected her son’s regime and the savage legacy Alia is attempting to maintain. The main plot centers about Alia’s attempts to capture a former ally of Paul’s, one Bronso, who has begun writing critical essays denouncing Paul’s godhood and exposing his myth for the fraud it always was. But Lady Jessica is not of the same mind, having been entrusted long ago by her son with a secret so profound, it would destroy any who learned of it. Thus she must somehow honor her son’s memory and fulfill her obligation to him, even if it means conspiring against her own daughter.
THE WINDS OF DUNE is filled with the same psychological complexities that were a hallmark of Frank Herbert’s books. It twists and turns on matters of trust, loyalty and the meaning of honor. Familiar characters are brought back to life with poignant clarity and the suspense and tension never let up. Even knowing what comes next in CHILDREN OF DUNE, I was hooked by this tale and enjoyed it immensely. It is a worthy addition to the DUNE saga.