axis-techno-geek writes "This is the tenth Dune novel, and the fourth co-authored by Brian Herbert (the son of Frank Herbert) and acclaimed sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson. The story in this Dune novel takes place 10,000 years before the original Dune novel and gives the reader more foundation on how the empire we know from the previous 9 book came to be." Read on for the complete review.
The book starts out by giving a history of how the Titans took over the "Old Empire" after humanity had lost its drive and had relegated intelligent machines to handle the everyday tasks. The Titans used this lack of drive and the intelligent machine to quickly take over the Old Empire and conquered most of the known galaxy. Free humans rose up at the fringes of the galaxy to resist and push the Titans back, forming "The League of Nobels".
The Titans governed their planets with a increasingly sophisticated AI network and increasing brutality towards their human "slaves". In a bid to rule for centuries, and for possible immortality, the Titans underwent the transfiguration to "cymeks", robots with a human brain. After a century of Titan rule, one of the Titans, in a quest for more free time to indulge in hedonistic activity, relinquished too much control to his intelligent AI network. Eventually the sentient AI network computer evermind, which took the name Ominus, took control of all the Titan controlled planets and formed the "Synchronized Worlds".
After a thousand years of conflict and stalemate between the Synchronized Worlds and the League of Nobels the machines, with coaxing from the Titans, have determined that it is time to "corral" the wild humans and strike out, the logical target, Salusa Secundus, the center of government for the League of Nobels . Being so "unpredictable" to Ominus, the humans, taking huge losses, again resist the machine attacks. In part due to the AI scrambler shield invention of one Tio Holtzman that stops robots, but in an oversight, allowed the Titan cymeks, with their human brains, through.
Reconsidering their tactics, the machines instead move on one of the less vehemently defended planets, an industrial world with an abundance of resources, Giedi Prime. This time the machines manage to knockout the shield generator and take the planet. Once the league hears of this, the endless debates start within their government, as with any democracy, nothing gets done because all the politicians are afraid to commit. All except Serena Butler, she instead organizes a small band to sneak onto Geidi Prime and complete the secondary shield generator. This leads to Serena's capture and eventual transfer to the primary Synchronized World, Earth.
We get to see the first "friction" here between the Atreides and Harkonnen, the Sorceresses of Rossak with their telepathic and telekinetic powers are the beginnings of the Bene Gesserit. The foundation is laid for the Suk doctors, and the cover blurb that I read mentioned the Swordmasters of Ginaz, but I found only a slight mention of the planet Ginaz. Another cover blurb I read mentioned the Mentat school, but there was nothing in this book, one could see the use for them as the League of Nobels did not use any computers.
The book flows very well and I found myself drawn to read more and more. The book does not have the intricate plot within plot layout as the other Dune works, but then this book is being narrated from a historical perspective. Given this, I found most of the characters actions predictable, but I have read all other 9 books, so this being a "historical" narrative, this keeps the characters close to their roles that were hinted at/layed out in the previous novels.
I give credit to Brian Herbert for the foresight of enlisting the help of Kevin J. Anderson in the creation of the Dune "prequels" as he openly admitted that he did not possess all of the "tools" required to under take this project, kudos.
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