Friday, October 29, 2021

Mentats of Dune

Mentats of Dune (Schools of Dune #2)Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson dedicate their second installment of the Great Schools of Dune trilogy to their wives, acknowledging them, their publisher, and their editors in the section afterward. As with other books in the Duniverse, fictitious philosophical quotes precede each chapter, with a cluster in the beginning opened by Butlerian leader Manford Torondo, who notes that advanced technology can make for various excuses, with Josef Venport not knowing whether to fear or laugh at the Butlerians, and Emperor Salvador Corrino indicating that whenever one crisis sees its resolution, another shows up.

In the beginning, Gilbertus Albans, Headmaster of the Mentat School, wants neither the Emperor nor the Butlerians to take it away from him, with Mentats being humans with minds so organized that they can rival computers. Some backstory figures into the initial chapter, with the late Emperor Jules’ consort Orenna being known as the Virgin Empress due to Jules’ three children not coming from her womb at all, but rather three different concubines. In the meantime, Vorian Atreides continues to wander the galaxy in search of a place to call home, being over two centuries old due to the life-extension treatment his father Agamemnon made him undergo.

Furthermore, Prince Roderick Corrino, brother to Emperor Salvador, contemplates deposing his sibling, a thought that plays part in the latter portion of the novel. Josef Venport continues his struggles with the Butlerians, finding Draigo Roget, a star pupil of the Mentat School, to be helpful in VenHold’s mercantile operations. The Emperor ultimately establishes the Committee of Orthodoxy to oversee technology and ensure it doesn’t overtake human lives as it did preceding the Butlerian Jihad. In the meantime, Valya Harkonnen plots revenge against the Atreides family, seeking to murder two of Vor’s descendants, Orry and Willem, with aid from her sister Tula.

Moreover, Ptolemy tests out his new Navigators, essentially cymeks, and the Sisterhood’s leader, Raquella, contemplates a successor, given her advanced age. A climatic conflict between Gilbertus and the Butlerians culminates towards the end, with this entry being generally enjoyable, given the rich mythology, action, and endearing characters, although there is minor confusion regarding whether certain characters are alive or dead. Even so, those that enjoyed the first book of the trilogy will definitely enjoy the second, and those new to the series would best begin with Sisterhood of Dune to be prepared for its sequel.

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