Friday, March 18, 2022

Dune: House Harkonnen

House Harkonnen (Prelude to Dune #2)House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The authors of the Prelude to Dune subseries, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, dedicate its second entry to Ed Kramer, who brought them together in the first place, and acknowledge their wives, families, literary representatives, the audio version’s producer, the test readers, and Frank Herbert, author of the original Dune series. Maps of a few of the planets serving as settings populate the portion of the book before its main text, and as with other books in the franchise, fictitious philosophical quotations precede each new chapter, among the quoted being character Pardot Kynes, a planetologist who asserts that life and discovery are dangerous.

The main text opens with a sandstorm, although Pardot is more interested in meteorological readings than protection, with his preteen son Liet accompanying him, and his father helping to terraform the desert world of Arrakis. On Giedi Prime, Gurney Halleck is slave to the Harkonnens, singing to relieve himself, and being reprimanded by security. Furthermore, Emperor Shaddam IV is unsuccessful in his attempts to produce a male heir to his throne, having only princesses. Duncan Idaho, moreover, yearns to become a Swordmaster, faithfully serving House Atreides.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen also has failing health due to sexual experience, and C’tair tries to contact his Navigator brother D’murr. Preteen Jessica is additionally fostered by the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, with the storylines sometimes overlapping, and tragedy terminating the second installment, which is enjoyable, although as with other entries of the series, certain details are easily missable. Even so, House Harkonnen provides a satisfying blend of political, religious, and technological overtones, and is recommended to fans of the series, although those new to it will definitely want to start with its predecessor House Atreides.

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