Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Returning to the world of Dune, or rather, what's become of what was once a vibrant, vital center of the universe, is always a treat. Even after Leto had seeded himself across the world.
But truly, the standouts are never whom you thought they should have been.
In this re-read, the fourth, if I'm not mistaken, I had almost all of my attention on a certain young BG who was meant to imprint our young Duncan Idaho in his latest of five thousand years of incarnations.
It's strange how our focus changes over time. I kept thinking over and over about her role in the BG beyond the whole intrigue and massive conflict going on with the HM.
Just what IS the Golden Path by this point? True genetic freedom, not just the unlocking of unimaginable powers, but the freedom to spread those to ALL of humanity's offspring? Or is this another genetic trap, a new kind of pressure to make us eventually jump once again?
Just what DID you see, Leto?
Fascinating. Always fascinating. Some of the best SF. Detailed, rich, and dense.
I have to admit that I put this one on the backburner for years and years and years, even though I attempted to re-read the series several times over the decades, I always got stuck right at the end of God Emperor of Dune and something in me just didn't want to pick up the two novels afterward.
This is strange to me! I thought the fifth and sixth books were rather awesome, frankly!
And that's why I'm skipping books 2, 3, and 4 altogether and jumping right back into the books that I have only read once. And then I'll be picking up the series carried on by Anderson and Frank's son following the events of Chapterhouse.
So how did I think this book held up after all these years?
Pretty good! There were a few slow parts, but the one thing that Heretics does very well is the worldbuilding. The Great God Leto II has been dead for 1.5k years after taking a dip in the aqueduct, turning into sandtrout that have now become full sandworms. That means that poor Paul's son has a trapped consciousness inside these gigantic monstrosities after having lived for 5k years. (Since birth+as a sandworm+trapped consciousness.) Freaky cool. And of course, religion has a bit part to play in these books as they always have.
What's most interesting is Miles Teg and the new Duncan Idaho. The similarities between Teg and the original Leto are pretty suggestive and the spice trance doubly so. His little transformation blew me away both times I read it. But Duncan Idaho? The obsessively resurrected clone of the original that has come back nearly countless times over 5k years? It staggers the imagination. Leto II really put him through the wringer, but even after the old god had died, the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tlailax have turned him into the stage of their own conflict.
And it's these two that really own the stage in this side of the universe.... until the great spreading of humanity came back. :) Enter conflict. :) So good.
This is one of those series that take a lot of dedication and understanding to really enjoy. You really have to get deep into them. But these are very, very enjoyable. This one is very complex and deep in a very similar way to the original classic.
Tons of politics and machinations, and if you love that, you'll love this. :)
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