Monday, February 26, 2007

The Legends of Dune Trilogy Book 1: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

It was time to pick up another book to read and I was trying to figure out what to read. I am already reading the "Isaac Asimov's Robot City" series and thought I'd better not do another sci-fi book. When I read I read multiple books, and I try to keep them opposite types. I then realized that my reading of the Asimov series was going to be hitting a speed bump. I can't find books 3 or 6 of that series. So I said what the heck, and looked at another Sci-fi book. I was going to re-read "Dune" by Frank Herbert, after all I loved the David Lynch movie, the Sci-Fi channel mini-series and of course the book itself. But I did some research on the book and remembered there were several books written in the "Dune" Series, including some prequels. So here I am on my trek through the stars with Dune. This time I was glad to see Frank Herbert's son, Brian Herbert, had joined in the Dune mythos.

The Legends of Dune Trilogy covers a time 10,000 years before the first book published, "Dune." This series covers some areas mentioned in the earlier (written not timeline) books. Also I read that the information shared in these books will play a vital part in the next book to be released August of 2007. So here's where I jump in.

As it stands in this book there are 3 factions of planets: the Synchronized worlds (run by thinking machines & Cymeks), The League of Nobles (the humans), and the unallied planets (which consists of Arrakis or Dune).

As is learned in "Dune: The Butlerian Jihad," published in 2002, The empire had grown "lazy and complacent." A group of humans decided to overthrow the empire and started calling themselves "the Titans." These Titans have enhanced their bodies to live for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This is not enough, they then find a way to remove their brains from their bodies and place them into "robot" bodies. Now called Cymeks they take over the empire. After enslaving man the Cymeks then allow the thinking machines to work for them, even giving the thinking machines human traits. One such trait, the need to conquer goes too far. The thinking machines then take over, enslaving the human race and creating the Synchronized worlds. Worlds that are all linked to the great evermind "Omnius." Omnius keeps the Cymeks for his dirty work and because deep in the programming the evermind cannot bring harm to the Cymeks.

There are the Synchronized worlds, ruled by Omnius, and the League of Nobles, a democratic form of planet alliances, that pretty much get by without harming each other, but then the Cymeks and the Thinking machines attack, forcing intergalactic war. During this war heroes and martyrs are made. If you have read the other books and wondered why there are no computers, how the Fremen got their start, why Spice Melange is so vital or how the 3 main houses (Harkkonen, Atreides and Corrino) came to be in power. This book is a must read.

The authors create and build on the mythos which include the same ideals created by Frank Herbert. In this first book we learn how Tio Holtzmann created the personal shields and the shield technology (which I thought was so cool in the series). The beginnings of the Bene Gesserit witches are also discussed and why they came to be. So basically this book (along with the other 2 "Legends" books) tells the whys of the mythos created in one of the best epic Sci-Fi series ever.

I now can't wait to get started on the next book, "The Machine Crusades," so I'm going to close this review. But before I go, If you have not ever read any of the Frank Herbert's Dune series, it won't hurt to start out with this introductory book. It is written with the same passion as all the others and besides, it's always good to start at the "beginning."

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:52 PM Comments: 0