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Title: Chapterhouse: Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #6
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
The Honored Matres are wiping out Bene Gesserit worlds while on their search for Chapterhouse, the nerve center of Bene Gesserit’ness.
Duncan Idaho and Murbella are on Chapterhouse and Murbella is being trained as a BG Sister to see if Honored Matres CAN make that transition. Duncan is just doing his thing and staying in the no-ship so nobody can find him. He becomes the Teg ghola’s weapon master [as he has visions of face dancers and somehow steals info about super advanced weapons from their minds] and in the end takes off in the no-ship with Sheena, Scytale and others.
Scytale continues his bargaining with the Sisterhood but is pretty much stymied.
Darwi Odrade is now Mother Superior and has plans to tame the Honored Matres by melding them with the BG. But to do this she must kill the High Honored Matre and convince the rest of the BG to accept Murbella as a synthesis of the two sisterhoods. She succeeds and dies and Murbella is confirmed as leader of both groups.
It is revealed that the Honored Matres have been fleeing something even more powerful than them and it is now up to Murbella to guide humanity to survival against whatever this “other” threat is while combining the best of the Bene Gesserit with the best of the Honored Matres.
And some Jews. I don’t even know why Herbert put them in, but they are shoehorned into this story like nobody’s business.
This really felt like 2 books. One of those books I liked, the other I thought was a steaming pile of poo poo. And I mean really stinky poo poo.
One book was about sexual obsession (by the author) and child rape and pages and pages of philosophical gobbledy gook that was batted back and forth by cardboard characters like a badminton birdie.
The other book was filled with planets being wiped out by super weapons and the discovery of eternal life through ghola memory being awakened and threats so large that they might be the end of all humanity all across the universe.
I enjoyed the first 10% of this book, then went out of my mind for the next 45% and finally enjoyed the last bit, thankfully. All of that is just to show that I don’t hold it against anyone who hates this book, doesn’t like it or just think it stinks (like really really really stinky poo). But being the man I am, I was able to go beyond Frank’s weaknesses and still enjoy the strengths this book has to offer.
But I had the mantra “why Frank, why?!?” running through my head the entire time. He has huge awesome plot material and tons of cool action stuff and he focuses on conversations about power and sex and religion? For phracks sake man, let it go and just tell a great story like you did with Dune. I think that is what each book after Dune lost out on, telling a good story. Each sequel became the vehicle with which Herbert drove us around his little personal psychology museum and bored us to tears with his ramblings.
One thing about this re-read that I enjoyed, or at least noticed without feeling like I needed to pass judgement, were terms and conditions that ended up being used in the Dune 7 duology by Baby Herbert and KJ Anderson. Noticing those things made me a little more forgiving of them and made me wonder if perhaps they weren’t the total wankers I think them to be. Yeah, that’ll last until I start reading the Dune 7 duology. Don’t worry, there will be no good feelings of comraderie and brotherly love then. Nothing but cold scorn and derision for ruining such an epic as the Dune Chronicles.
So why the 4stars? I’m beginning to wonder myself!
- The Action. When it happened, it happened fast and furious and there was NO messing about. Death and carnage and billions snuffed out in a heart beat.
- The Ideas. Once you got past Herbert’s obsession with power and the really weird ways he expressed that obsession, some of the points on humanity and how humanity acts and interacts were quite intriguing. I suspect they’re not very original, but in SF, it really works.
- The Direction. This series had moved beyond the Atreides family directly and towards the Gene Gesserit as a whole being a shepherd to humanity. Humanity had gotten larger and so the need for some guidance had gotten larger. Where this was leading was great.
Of course, it ends on a cliffhanger with Duncan and the No-ship in unknown space just hanging out. Like, duuude, where’s my spaceship? If you read my initial review from ’12 you’ll see how I reacted to that. This time around, knowing I had the completed story, no matter from who, that made a difference.