Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dune: The Battle of Corrin

The Battle of Corrin (Legends of Dune, #3)The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson dedicate the third and final installment of their Legends of Dune trilogy to “Renaissance” editor Pat LoBrutto, with the acknowledgements singling out both authors, who are analogized to the Navigators in the Duniverse. The tertiary entry opens with fictitious quotes from various Dune characters such as the initiator of the Butlerian Jihad, Serena Butler, who says that the billions slaughtered by thinking machines in the Great Revolt shouldn’t be called victims or martyrs, but rather heroes. Princess Irulan further states that the gravest error one can make is considering one version of history accurate, with other quotations opening the countless chapters.

Nearly a century has elapsed since the Butlerian Jihad began, the time being 108 years before the establishment of the Spacing Guild, with the robot Erasmus helping to engineer a disease to decimate the human population. Meanwhile, Vorian Atreides has twin sons with Leronica Tergiet, and retains his youth with a combination of mélange and the cymek life-extension treatment his father Agamemnon effected on him. On the war front, the Army of the Jihad seeks to wrestle Honru from the thinking machines, with a massacre on the world near the start of the conflict being a blight in the Great Revolt. Furthermore, Titans such as Beowulf rebel against Omnius.

Norma Cenva is addicted to melange, while Aurelius Venport seeks to establish spice operations on Arrakis, although sandworms sabotage his work. A rift also arises between El’hiim and his stepfather Ishmael on the desert world, with a sandworm duel towards the end of the novel. In the meantime, Erasmus tests his retrovirus on unfortunate humans with the help of human traitor Yorek Thurr, although the robot doesn’t want his adoptive son Gilbertus infected, nicknaming him Mentat. The swordmaster Istian also wanders the islands of Ginaz, renewed with rainforests threescore after their devastation, with his sensei robot Chirox.

The mentioned retrovirus, identified as the Omnius Scourge, devastates the human population, killing about two-fifths of those infected, with several worlds quarantined, although the spice melange proves promising as a cure. Moreover, Rayna Butler uses aggressive means in her own personal crusade against the thinking machines, attacking even those without sentience, and Abulurd Butler, unashamed of his grandfather Xavier Harkonnen, adopts his surname. The humans fight a battle on the Synchronized World of Corrin, and the Jihad is proclaimed officially over, though this is but the novel’s halfway point.

Nineteen years elapse, and humans begin reconstruction of their civilization, with all former Synchronized Worlds except Corrin being uninhabitable. Quentin Butler feels guilt at the use of pulse-atomics against the Synchronized Worlds, given the collateral human casualties, and a stalemate exists between the human and machines on their core world of Corrin. Miniature piranha mites, not to mention occasional resurgences of the Omnius Scourge, occasionally threaten the human population, hitting hard worlds such as Rossak.

The final showdown on Corrin occurs, along with the treachery that antagonizes the Atreides and Harkonnen clans for ten millennia, with the House of Corrino established as well in commemoration of the titular conflict. Overall, this is an enjoyable conclusion to the Legends of Dune trilogy, which one could consider a modern War and Peace with a science-fiction milieu. It does continue to bear its resemblance to other sci-fi franchises such as Terminator and The Matrix, although Frank Herbert, forefather of the Duniverse, likely had the ideas before his decease. Those that enjoyed its predecessors will enjoy this concluding entry, with those new to the series obliged to start from the beginning.

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