With three Dune books under their collaborative belt (Dune: House Corrino, 2001, etc.), the boys go back 10,000 years to tackle the epic conflict that shaped the entire Dune universe: humanity's struggle with the thinking machines. A mere handful of “cymeks,” human brains inside powerful robot bodies, conquered the first human Galactic Empire. But then Omnius, a self-aware machine that replicated itself, built robot armies, and enslaved both the cymeks and humanity. Now, only the disunited and disorganized human-occupied planets hold out against Omnius's Synchronized Worlds. On Salusa Secundus, Xavier Harkonnen ponders ways to challenge the machines in battle; his beloved, firebrand Serena Butler, raises the collective consciousness. On Rossak, inventor Tio Holtzman broods over foldspace technology and personal shields; Sorceress Zufa Cenva trains a cadre of women with extraordinary mental powers to destroy cymeks and machines, while her husband, businessman Aurelius Venport, runs the economy and experiments with strange new drugs. On Earth, the independent robot Erasmus brutally vivisects humans in his study of emotions and creativity; trusted slave Iblis dreams of leading a slave revolt. On Arrakis, outcast Selim learns how to ride sandworms and receives inspiration from God. And young human Vorian Atreides, son of the cymek Agamemnon, loyally serves both cymeks and Omnius as he travels from world to world, updating each copy of Omnius with new information. Battle, be assured, will commence.
Ideas aplenty, but shallow, unsubtle, and tepid: the pitch here is precisely Star Wars: Dune.