Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5) ★★★★☆

duneheretics (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Heretics of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #5
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 484
Format: Digital Edition



1500 years have passed since Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune, has died and relaxed his iron grip on humanity. After his death came the Hard Times and the Scattering. Humanity spread out to stars beyond count. Only now, they are returning and they want control of the Old Empire. Ix has produced mechanical space navigating machines and the Tleilaxu produce the Spice by the ton from their axlotl tanks.

The Bene Gesserit are still playing their genetic game. They have been continuing the line of Duncan Idaho gholas through a connection with the Tleilaxu. They have also been keeping their hand in the Atreides gene line and their top protector, Supreme Bashar Miles Teg, is an Atreides who’s mother was Bene Gesserit. She also trained Teg in the Bene Gesserit ways.

At the same time, a young girl named Sheena starts communicating with the worms. She comes under the Bene Gesserit’s control and they’re plan is for her and the latest Duncan Idaho to mate and have lots of little worm talkers. Things don’t quite go as planned.

Honored Maitres, some of the returning forces, attack several Bene Gesserit worlds and put Sheena, Duncan and Teg all in danger. Teg is captured, levels up under torture and escapes. He rescues Duncan and eventually Sheena and they go off in a No-Ship. No-ships are invisible to guild navigators and other prescient beings.

The book ends with the Bene Gesserit planning on being conquered by the Honored Maitres and planning on subverting the Tleilaxu for their own purposes.


My Thoughts:

I was able to appreciate just how this is the beginning of a new Dune trilogy. The first, Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune all form a tight weight on one side of the see-saw. God Emperor of Dune is really the pivot point and here we begin to see the other side of the balanced weight. It is almost exciting to realize such a literary device.

There is a lot of talking going on in this book and I mean a lot. Monologuing, diatribes, half-finished sentences, blah, blah, blah. Herbert gives us all the unnecessary in excruciating detail while completely ignoring a fantastic action story. But hey, that’s typical Herbert for you. In many ways, this could have been as exciting a novel as Dune with its huge scope and action scenes. Teg and Duncan are running from a planetary invasion of Honored Matres for goodness sake. Sheena is balancing between the Sisters and the Rakian Priesthood and the Bene Gesserit are dealing with Face Dancers that can mentally imprint and BECOME that person, to the point that the Face Dancer loses its own self-identity and forgets that it is a Face Dancer. Those are all completely awesome ideas.

And Frank shoves them off to the side to talk about control and sex and government and esoteric religious ideas. Don’t get me started on the sex. Not graphic, but it is underlying everything. Reading my review from ’12 when I last read this, it was obvious that that was what stood out to me then. This time I was able to look past it a little, but still, it is like the Spice. It is in everything, it is everywhere and you can’t get away from it.

It doesn’t get much more Freudian than THAT!

The main reason this gets a 4star rating and not a 4/12 or 5, is because so many of the ideas are cloaked in half-sentences and unfinished thoughts. That kind of writing infuriates me. If you have a clever idea, or a big idea, or just a plain old hum drum idea, state it! Don’t hint at it, don’t take an upskirt photo surreptitiously, don’t hem and haw around the edges. Grab that sucker, throw it down on the bed and ravish it! As you can tell, Frank’s freudian obsession with sex has overcome me and now everything I say or do will have some sort of sexual connotation.

So I’m going to end this review. Read this book ONLY if you’ve read the previous 4 and liked them all. Not liked them a little bit, but liked them a lot. You’re going to need that “like” to get you through.





15 thoughts on “Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5) ★★★★☆

  1. Definitely one for me to avoid. A couple of years back Mr NW and I did a book swap and he picked Dune for me to read. It was not pleasant.

    But I’ll send Mr NW over to read this review because he loves anything to do with Dune and I know he hasn’t read this book yet. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If Dune itself wasn’t for you, then this definitely isn’t.
      But MrNW might just eat it up. For all my complaining, I still enjoyed my time reading it and will probably be reading it again in another decade or so…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot of people made their excuses after the overlong and dull “God-Awful” (as it’s commonly known). “Heretics” was actually rather better, probably the best of the later books. But none of the sequels were a patch of the original book.

    Was Herbert the ultimate one-hit wonder of SF literature, in that he only wrote one truly great work? Think the series that kicked off with “Destination Void” and got ripped off for ‘Avatar’ may have been better. “Dosadi Experiment” and “Hellstrom’s Hive” also have some claims to be his best works. Dune was outstandingly popular, but the rest of his work is pretty solid.

    Certainly I think Heretics has been as influential as the original in some of its ideas. Think “The Matrix” using Miles Teg’s powers. I particularly love the Zen and social commentary that so often feature in the chapter preambles. I long for the day that FH’s notes for the seventh and final book are released so we can see what he had planned, rather than the tripe served by his, obviously well meaning, son…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See, I actually like God Emperor more than this. Mainly because I wasn’t expecting any “action” in GE but the whole ‘human diaspora” returning is fraught with potential for it and it just never happened.

      As for Herbert’s other stuff, I’m in the One Hit Wonder camp. I found Hellstrom’s Hive to be disgusting, while interesting, but not something that would ever appeal widely. Same with his White Plague. Great apocalyptic plague story, but once again, not going to widely appeal. His mind was just slightly different and it shows in his writings. Just lookat the Green Brain for copious examples of that. It’s just plain weird.

      I had never actually thought of Heretics as having an influence, but since you mentioned those examples, I can totally see that. I keep going back and forth whether Frank was a secret Islam lover or not. On one hand he’s praising the Fremen and their roots as if they are the equivalent of the salvation of mankind.Then when he gets to the Teilaxu, he paints them in nothing but the worst light. Very confusing to me.

      I highly doubt you and I will ever see ANY of the notes for Dune7. Baby Herbert and KJA have way too much invested in having told the end of the story THEIR way to ever let it become public knowledge what Frank might have had in mind. But maybe I’m just cynical 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Much as I loved the original Dune, and liked “Messiah” and “Children”, I did struggle a bit through “God Emperor” and never really connected with “Heretics”: it had a good premise, as you so correctly pointed out, but it was mired down in too many convoluted plots and sub-plots and in the end it felt mostly confusing…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The seesaw analogy was really interesting. I mean.. I haven’t ever gotten so far into a series before, so there’s no surprise that I couldn’t spot something like that before, but the way it is used in this series seriously has me pumped to get into these books (who the hell knows how long it’ll take me to ever get this far into a series though!). And man, the sexual writing influence did quite a number of you. Didn’t expect such a “dominant” ending to this review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eh, you’ll get around to it when you get around to it.

      Sadly, Frank caved and wrote like every other author from the 70’s and 80’s and made sex the driving force of everything. It may be, but not so “in your face” as this. And from what I remember, it gets even more blatant, and disturbing, in the next book. Man, some things I really hate from that time…

      Liked by 1 person

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