The magic lingers, even when the final chapters have already been written.



Another prequel (Sisterhood of Dune, 2012, etc.) piecing together the developments by which the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers, human-computer Mentats, legendary-warrior Swordmasters and interstellar navigators of the Spacing Guild created the universe of the original Dune.

Weak-minded, foolish Salvador of House Corrino relies on his more talented brother, Roderick, to help rule the Empire, little suspecting how powerless he really is. Dying Mother Superior Raquella labors to rebuild the Sisterhood School; her dearest wish is to heal the breach with the estranged Sisters who, led by Reverend Mother Dorotea, profess loyalty to House Corrino and to the Butlerian movement. However, Raquella’s probable successor, Valya Harkonnen, has placed personal concerns above the goals of the Sisterhood. Gilbertus Albans, head of the Mentat School, teaches his students to use their minds as efficiently as those of thinking machines. But Gilbertus (secretly, he keeps the brain of the evil thinking robot Erasmus in his office) has, perhaps fatally, compromised with the Butlerians. Led by the legless fanatic Manford Torondo and his Swordmaster Anari Idaho, the Butlerians have extended a not-unreasonable proscription on thinking machines into an unreasoning hatred of all technology, despite their own reliance upon it. Josef Venport, meanwhile, whose space transport fleet depends upon spice from Arrakis to produce foldspace Navigators, defies the loathed Butlerians by ruthlessly embargoing any planet that accepts Manford’s anti-technology pledge. Series fans know what to expect: adroit plotting, flat narration and intriguing if not quite fully believable characters (inevitably, the developing schools of thought assume greater importance than the individuals) maneuvering against a backdrop shaping itself into the vast, complex, fascinating Dune universe.

The magic lingers, even when the final chapters have already been written.

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-2274-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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