Friday, November 5, 2021

Navigators of Dune

Navigators of Dune (Schools of Dune #3)Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson dedicate the third installment of their Great Schools of Dune subseries to their wives, publisher, and agent, further acknowledging that they didn’t write the book alone, Tor Books heavily involved in its production. As with other entries of the series, various philosophical quotes open each chapter, whether from specific people or sayings of organizations, such as the Mentat debate about whether all things have a beginning and an end. VenHold Directeur Josef Venport gets several quotes, among them being that some see power and influence as a reward rather than a responsibility.

The main action commences with Josef expecting Emperor Roderick’s fleet on Kolhar, having wished to be chummy with the Imperium’s ruler while secretly creating a new cymek army. Meanwhile, Mentat Draigo Roget visits Lampadas on a mission for VenHold, while Anna Corrino, sister to the Emperor, confides in Erasmus, who is to receive a new physical body soon. Valya Harkonnen still reigns as Mother Superior of the Sisterhood, plotting vengeance against the Atreides with her sister Tula. Butlerian leader Manford Torondo further leads his followers in military action that culminates late in the story.

Vorian Atreides also continues to elude the Harkonnens, wishing vengeance like they do with his nephew Willem, beforehand trying to reason with the rival family. Manford has since transformed the Mentat School into a reeducation center, and Venport’s Navigator forces ultimately crowd the airspace of Salusa Secundus, demanding the Emperor’s surrender. The Imperium’s leader at one point considers abdication to allow his son, Crown Prince Javicco, to take the throne earlier, although this quickly falls out of favor. Josef’s spice operations on Arrakis also somewhat struggle as a result of the military action occurring during the narrative.

Some chapters also deal with Norma Cenva’s spice highs, which allow her to see safe space paths for the titular Navigators. The Butlerians also become somewhat desperate late into the novel, and in the end, the Imperium is threatened by extremists from two different sides, the antitechnology Butlerians themselves and Josef Venport’s new cymek Navigators. The story ends with a bit of a foreshadowing of things to come in chronologically-later Dune stories, with Navigators overall being an enjoyable read, although there are some questionable decisions such as titling one character the “Queen of Trash.”

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