Dune: The Battle of Corrin
by Brian Herbert
Review by Jeffrey Lyons
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0765301598
Date: 17 August, 2004 List Price $27.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
Fifty-six years after the death of Serena Butler and the events of The Machine Crusade, Vorian Atreides leads the humans (or hrethgir as they're called on the Synchronized Worlds) on a series of violent, bloody battles nearly decimating the enemy. All is not lost for the thinking machines as their leader Omnious releases a galaxy-wide plague that wipes out millions of humans. Vorian's granddaughter Raquella responds by leading her own followers on a mission to destroy any and all machines inside homes and businesses. Ultimately the machines are defeated in both venues and there is relative peace for eighteen years until a new series of events leads to the climax for which the book is named.
The worlds of Dune come full circle in the enthralling finale Dune: The Battle of Corrin. All of the questions you asked when Dune first opened its unique doorway into the future in 1965 are answered satisfactorily in this epic novel.
The problem with prequels is that you know how they will end. It's how the plot takes you there that makes it fascinating kind of like an episode of Columbo. This novel spells out how the Bene Gesserit learn of their great powers and how House Corrino is founded. We see the first Space Guild Navigator and learn of the origin of the House Atreides - House Harkonnen feud. The Spice begins to spread, Ishmael leads the ancestors of the Fremen to the desert world Arrakis, and the first mentat is introduced. Of course there is the ultimate defeat of the machines, which were introduced at the start of The Legends of Dune trilogy. All of this is supposed to have occurred over the course of a few decades, which seems almost unfathomable when Chapterhouse Dune takes place 18,000 years after the original series.
The religious, mythical, and political themes associated with Dune are all here. Yet the characters seem a bit colorless and wooden. I think that's partly due to their incredible number as well as the inconceivable number of stories (or legends) that have to be resolved during the course of the book. On the one hand I could describe this book in two words: loquacious verbiage. Each chapter runs about four to five pages at a pop but the dialogue and descriptions drone on.
On the other hand this is just the sort of thing that Dune fanatics should enjoy. Everything they've read and loved over the last forty years all boils down to these 620 pages. For that alone I thought Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson wrote an entertaining read and one that kept me occupied for many, many days even though it lacked some of the originality and worlds of wonder that were created by Frank Herbert.