Hunters of Dune The Ultimate Review


This article was updated, edited and corrected on the 27th of August 2006 @ 8:43 PM

In my haste to post this, I overlooked some major grammatical errors. This was due to the fact that I didn’t really edit this post due to its large size. I have corrected most of the mistakes.


This is my review, recap, secrets and spoilers of Hunters of Dune, the 1st part of the Dune 7 books written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. The recap is expansive and fully detailed, chronicling the most important parts of the new book, with tie-ins and my own opinions of the whole novel. There are a lot of spoilers, so if you are sitting down right now and preparing to read Hunters of Dune, don’t read it. It’s NSFW for Dune fans until you have read the book. This article is almost 6000 words long, so be prepared for a long read. It is almost a digest of Hunters of Dune, including my own opinions. The 1st part of this article is the review, devoid of any spoilers.


The review of Hunters of Dune


The Dune Chronicles are in my top 10 of all time science-fiction books. Frank Herbert’s imagination, prose and style is unique and he used it well to show a society completely different from the one that we were used to in science-fiction books. The use of religion and iconic imagery makes this series quite unique. I read my 1st Dune novel, the original one, almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have read them regularly every few years.


I was very happy when I heard that Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson were going to release new books in the Dune universe. But I was sorely disappointed with House Atreides. Certain fundamental changes that they did appalled the Dune fan in me; it almost seemed like blasphemy. But as the novels evolved and progressed, concluding with House Corrino, I learned to enjoy them. With the new Legends of Dune trilogy, each novel got better, though still not as good as the originals, they did provide good entertainment. You can read my review on Legends of Dune here or check the bottom of the post for the related posts to this article.


When I started Hunters of Dune, I was very happy to note that the general tone of the book and the chapters had greatly improved from their previous series, Legends of Dune. They mostly stay within the Dune mythos. This is the best of the books that Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson have written. Though they are nowhere near as good as Frank Herbert’s books, they certainly have accomplished something with this book that I have been waiting for 20 years. I am also sure that Sandworms of Dune will be even better, since each novel saw an improvement in their writing.


I was most worried about the return of Paul Atreides, Jessica, Thufir Hawat and other major characters in the Dune Chronicles as historical gholas. I was sure that the authors would try to reinterpret them in their own ways, and change the way that Frank Herbert had written them. However, I needn’t have worried about his. Since Frank Herbert himself came up with the concept of the nullenthropy capsules, one of which is implanted in the chest of the captured Grand Master Scytale of the Bene Tleilax, there is no longer any doubt in my mind that he had intended for these characters to return at some point in some way or form.


Though I do wish that Frank Herbert had the time to write these books himself, he couldn’t. As in the other books, the authors do have the tendency to repeat themselves much too often. I can no longer count the many times that they recount some fact or tidbit or policy. It is most annoying. Maybe this is because two writers wrote this book, and this is the result of it. The book would have been significantly better if they had removed the repetitions. The arrogant tone has also has almost disappeared, and makes the characters much more human. Contrary to Legends of Dune, even if this is a time of turmoil in the Dune universe, there aren’t that many stories and things happening at once like in the Battle of Corrin, which was, in my opinion, a major flaw of their writing style. Instead of concentrating everything within two hundred years, they should have expanded the timeline into a few millennia.


Another gripe is how the authors retrograded the Ixian navigation technology from Heretics and Chapterhouse Dune to suit their needs. It was said by Frank Herbert that the no-ships did not need Guild Navigators and that they were perfectly reliable. The authors go back on this and create problems with the navigation systems of the no-ships. Naturally, I know why they did this; they did it so that the Guild and that the Spice stayed relevant in this story. But I am sure that Frank Herbert would have found another way to do this, maybe the breakdown of the society, maybe the technology got lost. Some artifice would have been a lot better than to simply change a fact that was established in the original books by Frank Herbert.


And lastly, the Oracle of Time. I detest the whole implication of this concept, it is not useful and I know that she will be important in the last book, but she should not exist at all. The Spacing Guild has worked for all of Frank Herbert’s book, but all of a sudden the authors include a new thing that was never mentioned before? If it was relevant, Frank Herbert would have included it. It is like the Sorceresses of Rossak from the Legends of Dune trilogy and their telekinetic abilities; Frank Herbert never said or implied that the Bene Gesserit were telepathic or had telepathic powers in his books. They did have prana-bindu balance, had access to the Other Memory of their ancestors and could control their metabolism almost perfectly. His universe is mostly rooted in hard science-fiction. The authors preferred to launch it completely into the realm of soft science-fiction, including this example and the genesis of Norma Cenva that are completely out of the purview and mythos of Dune. But I digress.


I liked the book, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it today. I am pretty sure that most Dune fans will enjoy it too. I actually recommend this book. It is a good read. The new Dune books aren’t as cerebral and compelling as the originals, but they are still worth the read. The Dune Mythos will continue to live on throw these books. If you need a recap on Chapterhouse Dune and the events leading up to this book, click here.


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The recap, digest, secrets and spoilers of Hunters of Dune


I’m a few chapters into the Dune 7 book by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. I know for a fact that Omnius and the thinking machines will make a return. This was one of the reasons for the Legends Of Dune trilogy, to set the stage for this.


A good recap on the most important events in Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert.



Right now, the only annoying thing about the book is the Oracle Of Time, the supposedly benevolent force that guides the Spacing Guild. I don’t really like that. Also, the two authors mention that Guild Navigators are still needed, which is stupid since in Heretics and Chapterhouse Dune, the no-ships made them insignificant. They were no longer needed to navigate spaceships; the no-ships could do this by themselves. I just realized who the Oracle of Time is; she is Norma Cenva, or what is left of her. Norma Cenva was the 1st Spacing Guild Navigator. She formed the embryonic Spacing Guild during The Butlerian Jihad.


The portrayal of Grand Master Scytale of the Tleilaxu, Mother Commander Murbella, Duncan Idaho, Sheeana and Supreme Bashar Miles Teg are all within norms of standards established by Frank Herbert. Though the writing style of the author doesn’t duplicate Frank Herbert’s, it still retains some of its initial grandeur. The Hidden Enemy is not yet revealed, but tidbits are shown. The net that tried to snare the no-ship Ithaca, in which Idaho and the refugees tried to leave, is made out of tachyons. The lost face-dancers are no longer under the control of the lost Tleilaxu Masters that came back from the Scattering.


With Erasmus’s and Rekur Van’s experiments with biological robots and mimicry in The Battle Of Corrin, it is obvious to make a leap that the face-dancers are machine based and serve a machine master. Since Omnius-Prime broke down towards the end of The Battle Of Corrin, it is possible to think that it evolved into something more stable, since it stayed on the fringes of space for over 15000 years.


We find the Ithaca drifting in another braneworld, another universe. Idaho tore the fabric of space-time and slipped into another braneworld, a universe that is packed next to our on in another layer. They drift for over three years before Duncan Idaho gets contacted by the Oracle of Time and sends the ship back into normal space. The Great Enemy takes no time in finding them and they fold space again thanks to Teg’s enhanced speed.




The Bene Gesserit has been corrupted by Murbella and she rules with an iron fist. Resistance cells of dissident Honored Matres are everywhere and Murbella still has to consolidate her rule on Chapterhouse before uniting them all to face the enemy, but will it be in enough time?


The Guild is on its knees because the spice does not flow anymore. Rakis is destroyed, the way to create spice from Axlotl tanks is lost because the Tleilaxu are destroyed and the only spice stems from Chapterhouse, which is slowly being transformed into a new Dune. In one of her last tasks, Darwi Odrade sent out no-ship after no-ship with sandworms and reverend mothers in order to seed as many new planets as possible, so that the spice would flow without hindrance.


The Honored Matres came back with unknown technologies such as planet destroyers named obliterators; they are weapons of mass destruction far surpassing atomics and capable of destroying entire planets. Why? My guess is because they were in continual conflict with themselves and with The Hidden Enemy. It is suggested that the Honored Matres were formed by the remnants of the Fish Speakers, The God-Emperor’s Amazon fighters, and remnants of the Sisterhood. The Honored Matres enslave population with their sex, making them addicted to it.


One of Murbella’s twin daughter Renia dies in the spice agony. Janesse survives and awaits the Agony. Duncan Idaho is their father, long lost in the depths of space.


One of the things that I have been thinking about is that if Frank Herbert did not plan on bringing back legends during Dune 7, why did he include the nullenthropy capsule in Grand Master Scytale’s body? It makes me think that he had it planned all along.


Sheeana proposes a historical ghola project, decanting gholas from Scytale’s nullenthropy capsule. She proposes this with the support of Duncan Idaho and the Supreme Bashar Miles Teg. Reverend Mother Garimi is fiercely opposed to this plan.


Uxtal is a higher caste Lost Tleilaxu. He is recruited to do the new face-dancers bidding, as well as the bidding of the Honored Matres. He is sent to Bandalong, the scarred Tleilaxu homeworld, to create gholas for them from a damaged nullenthropy capsule. He also learned that he is the last of his caste; all the other lost masters have been destroyed or replaced by face-dancers.


When a battered Honored Matres ship appears in Chapterhouse escaping from far in The Scattering, some information is gleaned by Mother Commander Murbella about The Hidden Enemy. Coordinates are found for a planet outside the Old Empire. Scouts are sent and a scarred Honored Matres planet is discovered with thousand of warships strewed around the planet. Not one of the enemy ships was destroyed.


Just like in Frank Herbert’s Chapterhouse Dune, the Bene Gesserits are very cruel to the remaining Tleilaxu Grand Master Scytale in Hunters Of Dune. Scytale is dying, the multiple ghola lives that he has lived have developed defects. He has to create a ghola in order to live again. Reverend Mother Sheeana is reluctant to give him one in a timely fashion, even after he has given all of his knowledge to them.


Crohn the leader of the new face-dancers, heads a conspiracy as an agent for the Old Couple in the tachyon net. I have always thought that the couple were in actuality face-dancers from The Scattering that absorbed thousands of different people through sympathico, the way that the face-dancers imprint other people into themselves. I am unsure that it is so in Dune 7. The old couple, named Marty and Daniel, search desperately for the Ithaca. It also looks like Crohn has his own plans that are different from the Old Couple’s. They say that they need the Kwisatz Haderach for the Kralizec, the Typhoon Combat at the end of the world. They say that they have gleaned this from their projections. They sound like AIs, like thinking machines.


One thing though, I find the odyssey that the lost Jewish tribe goes through is a bit draining and inconsequential to real meat of the plot. The whole thing about using Reverend Mothers to become Axlotl tanks is a bit ridiculous. They could easily cloned a few bodies with no minds with one tank to produce others. But instead the authors use a melodramatic artifice so that Reverend Mothers have to sacrifice themselves to become Axlotl tanks.


Uxatl decants Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from the tanks on Bandalong for the face-dancers. He is surprised at this. Murbella is trying to unite the fractioned alliance between the Sisters and the Honored Matres. She imposed a new uniform to try to bring both sides back together; a simple black jumpsuit.


Sheeana is also confronted with an escaped Futar. Futars are hybrids of humans and felines bred in The Scattering by Tleilaxu to hunt and destroy Honored Matres. They require Handlers to be able to function properly. They seek Handlers but can not find them. There are 4 Futars on the Ithaca who sought sanctuary. They are another mystery that had not been elucidated by Frank Herbert in his last two books in the Dune Chronicles. They are de-evolved humans reduced to their baser instincts.


As usual, the authors are always repeating themselves. It gets really annoying. I know that they are trying to make Dune available to a new generation of readers, but the readers are not stupid. So stop repeating the same things over and over again!


The Guild hires Ix to perfect the navigation machines to navigate foldspace. What they do not know is that the perfect face-dancers have completely infiltrated Ix. They are going to get technology from the Old Couple. Crohn knows that this is nothing as advanced as the technology that The Hidden Enemy has.


On Chapterhouse, Murbella and her Reverend Mother daughter Janesse seek out deserters and resistant fighters that hide on the planet.


Reverend Mother Sheeana makes progress with the Futars. Using the Cult Of Sheeana and making Hrm witness her power over the sandworms, she is able to communicate with the Futars. The Futar tells her that she is better than the Handlers. He tells her that the Futars are better than the Fish people. Sheeana wonders if the Fish people are diametrically opposed to the purpose of the Futars, being Bene Gesserit hunters like the Futars are Honored Matres hunters.


Mother Commander Murbella is purchasing all of House Richese’s stock in armaments. Meanwhile, the new Bene Gesserit Sisterhood is training itself to do battle with the Honored Matres and The Hidden Enemy. The techniques of the Swordmasters of Ginaz are used by the new Valkyries, the crack team of Bene Gesserit fighters. Janesse adopts the surname of her father, Idaho.


Uxtal goes to Dan with the young Vladimir Harkonnen to start setting the stage for the ghola to recover all of his memories. The face-dancers take the boy away from Uxtal. His tanks were producing the drugs that the Honored Matres are using instead of the Spice. The face-dancers present a knife that is preserved in a nullenthropy field that contains the blood of the Muad’hib. Uxtal guesses that he has to create a ghola of Paul Atreides. A captured Fish Priestess recounts the story of the dagger. She tells the story of how Count Hasimir Fenring of the Old Empire stabbed Muad’hib thousands of years ago.


From the recent chapter, I get the feel that the old couple aren’t the only enemies that the Old Empire will face. The other enemies must be machines, or so I gather. The Valkyries and the Bene Gesserit of Murbella take the ocean world of Buzzell, the world were soostones were created. The whole episode about Reverend Mother Karista and her daughter is bad. Nobody cares knowing this bit of information. Murbella relives the whole ordeal and is totally uncalled for. We also see the amphibian overseers, the Fish People called Phibians that the Futars mentioned.


Thirteen years after Duncan Idaho fled from known space. Paul, Chani, Liet-Kynes, Jessica, Stilgar, Thufir Hawat, Dr Yueh and Leto II are the 1st of the historical gholas of the old Bene Gesserit. I feel that some scenes are recycled from Frank Herbert’s book, like the Guild audience with Murbella. A similar scene happened in front of the God-Emperor. The desert scenes with Darwi Odrade from Chapterhouse Dune are similar to the ones that include Murbella on Chapterhouse in this book.


Reverend Mother Garimi and her conservative allies made their move to destroy Leto II as a baby. Leto II is seen by most of the Bene Gesserit as an abomination that brought humanity to its needs and killed billions with his Golden Path. Something weird happened when Stuca tried to kill him. The baby morphed into a miniature worm and attacked her. When Garimi looked back, she only saw baby Leto. It was like dual realities existed for a time being. Stuca bears the wounds of a small sandworm attack.


This book is definitely the best that the two authors have written until now. The pacing and quality of the writing are way better than the previous series Legends of Dune. Naturally, since the characters are all already known and were already defined by Frank Herbert, the novel is a gem of familiarities. There is none of the arrogant tone that the author’s characters had in the previous series. They are fallible and human. They are interesting and compelling. This book has a lot less faults then I expected it to have. It is another page turner. It is the book that needed to be written. Though naturally if Frank Herbert would have written it, it would have been better, but at least with the guidance of his outlines and notes, the story and elements are very good.


Doria has been a Honored Matres all her life and she finds the transition difficult, especially with Bell hounding her constantly. Even if she has stayed for years with Bell and Murbella, the tasks at the desert on Chapterhouse were just too much. She has grown to hate Bell. They have a fight to the death. Doria kills Bell but Murbella makes Doria is forced to share Bell’s life.


The young Baron almost destroyed the Atreides fetus by tampering with the Axlotl tank carrying the Atreides. The Harkonnen’s character is even apparent at his very young age. He gets exiled to Dan for his crime.


Murbella and the Phibians come to an agreement, exchanging Mélange for their labors harvesting the soostones. The Ixians have come up with a “new” technology for space folding navigation, without needing any spice or Navigators. They are calling these mathematical compilers to avoid any confusion with thinking machines. This is a bit confusing, since the advent of no-ships, Navigators were no longer needed as much. This is directly from Frank Herbert. The navigation computers developed by Ix at the end of the reign of the God-Emperor were supposed to work fine. Now, the authors changed this to suit the needs of their plot in Hunters Of Dune.


The Edric class Guild Navigator congregates with The Oracle Of Time. The Oracle reveals to her Navigator that there are other sources of Mélange, this sends Edric pondering on her prophecies. Edric now thinks about creating a ghola from one of the old Tleilaxu Masters who knew how to create Mélange from Axlotl tanks.


Another strange ship from The Scattering appears in Chapterhouse space. It contains a Priestess from the Cult of Sheeana. She brings bad news from Gammu. They bring a warning about the Guild Heighliner. The Honored Matres still have Obliterators and plan on using them on Chapterhouse. Murbella had already planted no-field space mines around Chapterhouse. She sends a warning to the Guild Navigators. They comply under the threat of destruction of their Heighliner. Murbella captures some Honored Matres and Obliterators.


On the Ithaca, Duncan Idaho makes another jump. He got distracted again by the memory and his slavery to Murbella. The first jump brings them closer to the tachyon net and the Old Couple. Teg uses his speed to make them jump again through foldspace. The tachyon net is damaged as they made their escape. And then jumps again. The net is severely damaged. Through their discussions, we learn that they need the Kwisatz Haderach in order to win the war. Daniel wants the Kwisatz Haderach on the no-ship but Marty tells him that another Kwisatz Haderach on Dan. Marty tells Daniel that she will help repair the gossamer net and that she sent watchers to observe Crohn and the Atreides ghola on Dan. We know that the Old Couple is on a planet with a giant metropolis.


The watchers are a hodge podge of machinery, implants and humans. They are like patchwork humans. Crohn has to tell people that see them that they are from Ix. In the description, they seem to me like the Borg from Star Trek. They are here to observe and to see what the face-dancer myriad is up to in Old Empire. They have to see the replaced nobles and factions themselves. Crohn lets them do this.


Murbella launches a stealth attack on Gammu, using surgical strikes instead of brute force. She brings the Valkyries to Gammu in order to lead the overtaking of the whole planet and the capture of Niella, the Honored Matres who oversees the planet. The Bene Gesserit take Ysaï.


Uxtal is charged with creating gholas of the Old Tleilaxu Masters. Edric asks this of him and of the Honored Matres. In doing so, they would be able to recreate the process to create spice from Axlotl tanks. The Honored Matres had kept the 24 gholas of the Old Master Waff in stasis. They have almost converted them to male Axlotl tanks and have tried to milk their seed. However, like it was shown before in the last two books by Frank Herbert, Old Master seed does not tell anything. It is sterile, made so by the Masters so that no one can extract any information from it.


From Gammu, the Bene Gesserit sisters bring forth a dead face-dancer who had been masquerading as Honored Matres, that was not seen by the Truthsayers. The new face-dancers were perfect; they could fool Truthsayers. They discovered that when brought to the verge of death, the face-dancers reverted to their base forms.


Teg is allowed to guide the no-ship Ithaca to a hidden planet behind a no-field. With his ability to see into no-fields, the Bashar found this planet with the help of his prescience. They discover a no-planet that has been abandoned for over a century. They think that the planet has been attacked by a biogenic agent. That is why the Honored Matres were looking for a way to control their cellular and immune systems. The plague is 100% contagious and probably made by the Hidden Enemy or the Enemy of Many Faces. The planet was inhabited by Honored Matres. Within a few years, the no-field would fail, so the Ithaca leaves the tomb planet.


My guess is that the planetary no-field technology is derived in part with the gel-circuitry scrambler technology that The League of Nobles used on their worlds during The Butlerian Jihad. That plus the no-field technology developed in part with the Ixians and the Guild, would enable to deploy a spherical matrix of no-field generating satellites.


Uxtal is preparing to decant 8 gholas of the Grand Master Waff to help him create spice from axlotl tanks. Meanwhile on Chapterhouse, Doria is slowly accepting her merge with Bell and slowly becoming a true Bene Gesserit. However she is becoming fatter; Bell’s affectation was being fat. The worms have doubled in size in a month. Bell-within is continually hounding her. The creatures of at least 20 m long are attacking a team of surveyor Sisters. Doria dies.


I remember a quotation from Leto II,


I will die four deaths

The death of body,

The death of the soul,

The death of myth

The death of reason

Leto II, God-Emperor Of Dune, Dar-Es-Balat.


My reasoning is that humanity is still on the Golden Path that Leto II envisioned. I think that the authors agree with this. However, there are a lot of superfluous stories included in this novel.


The Ithaca does another blind jump to a verdant planet. A convocation is called to decide what will happen. Thufir Hawat, Duncan Idaho and Supreme Bashar Miles Teg confer together.


I must say that the integration of the historical gholas in the continuity is almost flawless. I was very impressed on how Leto II defended himself from the assassination by Reverend Mother Garimi. Until now, there has been nothing unpleasant. As Duncan Idaho was a minor character in the original Dune, he has become prevalent and indispensable to the Bene Gesserit.


I find that Duncan Idaho crazy insistence on the Hunters makes him look totally insane to the others, because he and only he can see the tachyon net. Even though the threat is real, the fact that only Duncan Idaho can see it and no one else, makes it more and more irrelevant to the more conservative Reverend Mothers led by Garimi and the Jewish. The Futars are reacting strangely and demand to be transported down to meet their Handlers. Sheeana agrees.


The Guild and the Honored Matres are getting ready to attack Richese, home of the Bene Gesserit war construction factories. The Obliterators are deployed and used to destroy Richese as well as billions of sentients. But most important of all, the Bene Gesserit is set back in their efforts to fuel their arms race. The Obliterators remind me of the planet killers of the Shadows from Babylon 5. They seem to be swarms of nuclear devices that tunnel and destroy the surface of a planet completing dusting it.


Murbella are planning to hit Tleilax were the last of the Honores Matres are entrenched. I find that the way that Murbella holds herself and the way that she thinks is quite dangerous for the sisterhood; Bene Gesserit are never so emotional. They are always in control. The new Sisterhood isn’t as worthy as before. Most of the new sisters would have been censured by the proctors of the old Sisterhood.


As Duncan Idaho mentored the Supreme Bashar Miles Teg before, Teg mentors Thufir Hawat, their minds attuned because all three of them are Mentats. The Handlers meet the crew of the Ithaca scout ship. The Handlers have all a strange band of pigmentation around their eyes, like bandits. They are somewhat elongated around their limbs. The Futars are finally reunited with the Handlers.


On Dan, after three years of torturing the Baron, his memories still have not come back. Crohn is perplexed on how to make the Baron recall his memories. The masochistic tendencies of the Baron have appeared due to the incessant torture sessions. He actually enjoys them, the sick and deprived Harkonnen that he is. Crohn is using one of the techniques that the Masters developed to create their twisted Mentats; a sensory depravation tank. Finally, the memories are restored. Like mentioned before in Frank Herbert’s novels, awakening a ghola is particularly hard and varies from ghola to ghola. The Baron has a surprise, Alia Atreides, The Abomination, is still nested in his memory. In her mind, it’s time for payback for all the tortures that he had inflicted to her during the time of Muad’hib and the Regency of Dune in the book Children Of Dune.


The multiple Waff gholas are quite nasty. The recovery of their memories will be quite arduous. The technique employed by Uxtal and Ingva is simply to kill randomly the Waffs in order to build the tension to try to release their memories. After a few minutes, only two Waffs are left. One of the Waffs realizes that some kind of security system had been implanted into their make-up by the Old Masters. The illegal rapid aging process that Uxtal used to age the gholas prematurely corrupted part of the memories of the Waff ghola.


The Handlers tell the story on how they themselves developed the Futars. They tell that Lost Tleilaxu helped settle this world and instructed them on how to create Futars. The Handlers tell them that those Tleilaxu are long extinct, because they reproduced in different ways. On the no-ship, Duncan Idaho ponders creating a ghola of Murbella to stem his obsession and slavery to her. He had almost lost the ship to the gossamer net. If it hadn’t been for Teg, they would have been captured.


On Chapterhouse, Murbella goes on a safari inside the Other Memory. She exhausts herself and imbibes a lot of spice. Through her voyages, she gleans the truth and origins behind the Honored Matres beginnings. They were formed in the Diaspora by rogue Reverend Mothers, Wild Reverend Mothers and Fish Speakers. But that is not all. In their flight from known space, the rag-tag of women encountered isolated Tleilaxu worlds on the fringes of the Old Empire. They discovered that the Tleilaxu had been using their females as Axlotl tanks for over 10000 years. Their fury and indignation knew no bounds. They destroyed all male Tleilaxu and took all of the females with them to try to reawaken them. Most of them died, but some of them survived and awoke. That is part of the reason that they became the Honored Matres, Honored Mothers. The Tleilaxu women’s hate of the male Tleilaxu knew no bounds. With the spice no longer available, the Honored Matres could no longer go through the Agony and have access to the Other Memory, so they developed another drug based on adrenaline that the Honored Matres still used to this day.


Murbella makes an agreement with Edric and the Navigators to supply them with more spice. She notices that they do not seem very jubilant about this. She knows that there is a possibility that they have another source of Mélange. Many Navigators lost their lives due to spice withdrawal and their supplies are quite low. Murbella asks for transport to Tleilax to destroy the remaining Honored Matres.


Sheeana, Teg, Hawat and a few others witness the hunt by Futars of the captured Honored Matres. Teg suspects that there is more than it appears on the surface. Who else would want the Honored Matres dead? The Hidden Enemy. Teg computes that the forest on the planet is artificial in nature and that secrets are hidden here, the Handlers are hiding things from them. Sheeana sees that the Futars use an animalistic version of the Voice to freeze their prey.


In Bandalong, Ingva tries to imprint sexual bondage to Uxtal, the Mélange researcher. Little does she know that he is an eunuch. She informs him that castration might not be enough to stop the imprinting process.


On the Handler’s planet, during the hunt, an Honored Matres kills a Handler. To the surprise of the rabbi and Hawat, they discover that the Handlers are perfect face-dancers. On Dan, Crohn knows that the Old Couple are preparing to launch their conquest of everything. The Old Couple inform Crohn that they are about to capture the Ithaca with a primitive trap on the planet of the Handlers. They no longer needed his backup Kwisatz Haderach. They tell him that they are about to launch their offensive against the Old Empire.


Murbella cloaks her plans in a show of parley with Hellica, the Honored Matres in charge of Tleilax. At that moment, Bandalong is covered in explosions by the saboteurs led by Janesse. The attack is launched. The Mother Commander sees that Hellica is a face-dancer after being killed. The new perfect face-dancers were not created by the Lost Tleilaxu, they were simply found by them. In essence, they are biological machines in my opinion. Uxtal dies, eaten by sligs during the attack.


On the Handler’s planet, the face-dancers make their move and attack Sheeana and Teg. The face-dancers wanted to board the no-ship. Teg uses his incredible speed to take care of the remaining face-dancers. Hawat almost sacrifices himself to save the rabbi. Hrm and his three companion Futars protect the crew of the Ithaca. The Handlers had their own spacecraft and they would no doubt pursue them.


In the end, the Tleilaxu have been tools for everyone; the Bene Gesserit, the Honored Matres, the Spacing Guild, the new face-dancer myriad. Everyone. And since the Honored Matres, tracing their lines back to female Tleilaxu, destroyed all of the Tleilaxu worlds, they have almost been extinguished. The Tleilaxu Old Masters, living serialized ghola lives ever since they discovered the process thanks to Hayt, the 1st Duncan Idaho ghola-mentat given to the Emperor Muad’hib, have modified themselves extensively and have discovered immortality. In effect, one the main reasons that I loved Duncan Idaho is that he is the world’s oldest man, having lived over 5000 years and countless serialized ghola lives in his current incarnation. He is the Supreme Mentat, his computation power and projection abilities surpassing those of any mentat.


The Tleilaxu seed does not speak.

Grand Master Scytale of the Bene Tleilax, the last surviving of the Old Masters to the witches that had captured him.


Speaking of Duncan Idaho, he is trying to convince Scytale to create a new ghola of Murbella in order to quench his withdrawal of their encounters. Again, Duncan Idaho is distracted from his duties by his addiction, missing the perils of the lander. Sheeana tells Duncan that it was a trap to capture the no-ship. The tachyon net has finally found the Ithaca. Duncan Idaho uses his mentat computation to pierce spacetime again to another escape.


On Tleilax, the damaged ghola Tylwyth Waff makes to make his escape to a waiting Guild Heighliner. He is granted sanctuary by Navigators. He intrigues the Navigators by talking about enhanced engineered sandworms of which he possesses the knowledge to create. These worms will create a lot more spice that traditional worms.


On board of the Ithaca, Duncan Idaho makes an unnerving discovery; there is a possibility that face-dancers made it onboard – as many as three perfect face-dancers. Sheeana faces her mentats with quiet displeasure. She knows of Idaho’s problems with the Murbella’s bonding. Teg’s speed is shown to Sheeana. He explains parts of them to Sheeana. He says that ever since Muad’hib and Leto II, the Bene Gesserit have been wary of males with unusual talents. Sheeana comes up with the solution of imprinting Duncan again to wean himself from the addiction of Murbella.


The Old Couple ready their battle fleet to take over the worlds of the Scattering and the Old Empire. Their goal is either to destroy humanity or to “perfect” them. To synchronized them? They have waited fifteen thousand years for this. The Old Couple are most definitely remnants of thinking machines, it matches the chronology of when the evermind launched its probes and transmitted itself to the vast darkness of the fringes of the galaxy. The Oracle of Time thinks that if she followed the strands of the tachyon net, she would find the nexus of the net. The ancient enemy incarnated as the thinking machines is returned and we have confirmation of Norma Cenva’s identity as the Oracle of Time.


In a pre-prescient leap, the ghola Paul Atreides on the Ithaca takes spice to awaken himself. He sees a prescient vision of his death, another Paul stabbing him to death. Murbella sees through the black wall that blocked her Honored Matres Other memory. Blundering in their expansion, they entered a new machine empire. They had encountered a strange metropolis inhabited entirely by thinking machines. Linese was the explorer Honored Matres that discovered them. The evermind had taken root. The rebel Honored Matres stole weapons and destroyed a machine outpost and returned to destroy the other Honored Matres. The machines retaliated with new Scourges destroying the Honored Matres in their Scattering home worlds. Murbella maps the state of the galaxy with the worlds destroyed by the Honored Matres and the one destroyed by the machines by scourges. She sees a clear path in this destruction.


Back on the central machine world, the Old Couple have dropped their visages and guises. Daniel is the evermind. Marty is Erasmus. Omnius forces pushed through the last vestiges of The Scattering. Erasmus had tried to constrain the evermind within the projection of the old man. However, the incursion of the Honored Matres destroyed this balance. It all started with a probe launched by Geidi-Prime-Omnius. The Omnius-Prime had incorporated Erasmus into himself and transmitted himself into the vastness of space to find a receiving station. It traveled for thousands of years, degrading and finally reaching the beachhead probe. It had rebuilt itself and rebuilt a new Synchronized Empire.


A Tleilaxu Master named Hidar Fen Adjidica sent out a new breed of face-dancers as colonists, a few thousand years after the Battle Of Corrin. Omnius intercepted them and modified them with the help of Erasmus. Erasmus had been absorbing personalities for a long time and tinkered with them. He then sent them back as spies.


At the end of the book, there is a nice chronology of the Dune Mythos, still leaving large gaps between recorded periods, like the time between the beginning of the Guild and the birth of Muad’hib. It is also said that 1 A.G., or After Guild, corresponds to approximately 13000 AD. At the end of the audio book, there is an interview with Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson, where they describe their style of writing. They reveal that the next book in their next trilogy will be called Paul of Dune and will chronicle the life of Paul Atreides before Dune the novel and after Dune, up until the time of Dune Messiah.


The authors say that the Old Couple did have a link to the Butlerian Jihad in Frank Herbert’s outline for Dune 7. The interviewer talked about the reason why Duncan Idaho was brought back. The main reason was because the fans asked Frank Herbert to bring Duncan Idaho back.


* * * * *

Relevant Posts

  1. Tidbits From Hunters Of Dune
  2. Legends Of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad Reviewed
  3. Legends Of Dune 3: The Battle Of Corrin


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Featured Photographers in this article

pixability, andnef, More altitude, cocolinda, captain patata, lindatxikiakalea, alandot, buddymax50.






14 responses to “Hunters of Dune The Ultimate Review”

  1. range Avatar

    There was a comment from Cash from pointing out that there were some glaring grammatical mistakes in this post. In my haste, I did not edit the article thoroughly. I have corrected this mistake and hopefully caught most mistakes.

    Also, to clear up some copyright issues, I have included photo credits for all photos used in this post and all upcoming posts at the end of this article. Recently, I have also added the Relevant Posts section at the bottom to redirect the readers to relevant posts.


  2. Edseverripit Avatar

    I didn’t read a mention of Piter… 😦 *cries* I hope he returns for part 2 of HoD! BTW, this is Mentatoh, I changed my address and name for my own reasons, so you might want to change details A.S.A.P Post a comment in Eternal Catharsis if there is any mention of Piter for the next one!

  3. Chris Allen Gaubatz Avatar

    Very nice review. I had very similar sentiments going into Dune 7, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. I prayed that ‘Hunters’ would be different in style than the prequels, and the god of sci-fi answered my prayers! You mention you’re disdain for the repetition that BH and KJA incorporate throughout. This is true, but at least it was a tenth of what it was in the prequels. I felt like they spent the first quarter of each novel recapping the previous one! The prequels were flawed on so many levels. One can certainly see the difference of just having Frank Herbert’s outline for Dune 7, compared to the prequels. ‘Hunters’ didn’t feel out of place compared to the original canon. I’m thankful that BH and KJA made the effort to stay true to Frank Herbert’s legacy. I really enjoyed this book, and can’t wait for the next installment. I agree with your gripe about Ixian navigation technology, and the Oracle of Time, but I disagree with your take on the Bene Gesserit link to the Sorceresses of Rossak. My interpretation of that link is that the Sorceress’ of Rossak had telekinetic/telepathic powers, that these powers degraded over time, with the only genetic marker staying consistent with each generation being their ability to recall ‘Other Memory’. On another note, wasn’t it nice to read a BH/KJA Dune book that had absolutely ZERO ‘Salusan Bull’ metaphors! Talk about redundancy- you would think that ‘Salusan Bull’s’ were the only animal in the entire damn Dune universe when reading the prequels! Anyway, great review! I just completed the book and did a review, but I wanted to get another person’s opinion. I didn’t get into near the detail you did, though!

  4. Jason Crawford Avatar
    Jason Crawford

    I had only two problems with the book in and of itself as a novel. In one part, there is a quote, and under it, it is dated “10,191 B.G.” According to the original Dune appendicies, “B.G.” when followed by a date, meant “Before Guild.” Shouldn’t the quote have been dated “10,191 A.G.?”
    And in one part, there is some sort of comment that the end of the Butlerian Jihad took place only 15,000 years before this book? Okay, the original was 10,191 years after. God Emperor was 3,500 years later. And in the synopsis of “Heretics” it says “ten times ten centuries have passed…” which i another 10,000 years folks! I think Brian and Kevin forgot the ten thousand years between 4 and 5.
    As for this critics’ opinions, I agree about the repetative style. In the Legends of Dune, for example, the authors became redundant as well. For example, they kept calling their cause a “Holy Jihad”, which is a redundant term; Jihad means “Holy War.” And after calling the evermind Omnius, I can’t believe how many times you see “Omnius’s” adjective as “ominous.” Go ahead and look. It’s as if B.H. and K.J.A. just discovered the word and were more than happy to use it not just in a sentence, but in three damn novels. Everywhere!
    Just my opinion. Curious about others.

  5. Sean Avatar

    I just read the book and I have to say you can tell the difference between having a full outline of a book and a sketch. I feel that with “The Ledgends of Dune” the authors had notes but had to much to fill in on thier own. With Hunters, it felt like it was much more connected with Frank Heberts original style and Flow. Much more enjoyable than Ledgends.

  6. Chris Allen Gaubatz Avatar

    Jason C…good point about the Dune chronology. I consider myself fairly well versed on the Dune universe, and I still get mixed up on the chronology. Does anyone know a good Dune timeline? I’d love to see one. On you’re other point, if I had to sum up the prequels in two words it would be: 1)outline 2) redundant. Redundant words and metaphors (as if they are trying to brain wash us)! That’s why i’m so impressed with Dune 7. Frank Herbert’s notes for Dune 7 must have been exhaustive, because there is a vast improvement of writing style going from the prequels to Dune 7. I have more detailed opinions in my blog if you care to read further.

  7. Axl Avatar

    The way the gholas meshed was rather impressive, though I found Leto II and Paul to be rather underused. I think they ruined Murbella’s chracter though. In Heretics and Chapterhouse she had a bit of a quiet unsure demeanor under her Honored Matre exterior, but in these books, everytime she talks I envision her waving a battle flag and pointing towards an oncoming army. They kept Duncan fairly well, and exploited the bitterness in his character as good as Frank Herbet ever did, if not better.
    The Baron was excellent in both books, and having a look at him as a child was a worthy addition to his history. The abrupt ending of Erasmus was horrendous though. It was in character, but poorly written. And about the planet of the handlers, when a 12 year old Thurfir and an Old Jew can escape the Myriad by simply running, but a Reverend Mother and the Supreme Bashar have to scratch and claw thier way out nearly being captured or killed, did it not seem quite obvious who the saboteurs were? Though not a plot hole, it certainly wasn’t suspenseful.
    About the timeline, I don’t believe Jason Crawford is correct. In Heretics, it doesn’t mention that 10,000 year period, it refers to a 1,500 year period numerous times throughout Heretics and Chapterhouse.
    And an answer to Chris Allens question
    That’s the most accurate timeline I’ve found thus far.

  8. knight Avatar

    It’s always amusing to see how man’s best efforts at keeping a complicated book, show or series, though much less complicated then the Bible, still ends up with many clear errors, and yet man’s best efforts to refute the Bible, which took thousands of years to complete by many men who didn’t know each other or always speak the same language and who didn’t always live near to the other writers, always fail.

  9. Rover Avatar

    This is in reponse to your problems with the inclusion of the Oracle of Time, thinking it an unnecessary addition. The Oracle IS mentioned by Leto II at the end of God Emperor. It’s just one mention, but it’s there.

    1. SandRider Avatar

      the word “oracle” appears 7 times in God-emperor;
      in each case, it refers to Leto himself …

      you’re thinking of this line:
      “My gift,” Leto said. “Nobody will find the descendants of Siona. The Oracle cannot see her.”

      here, as earlier, Leto is referring to himself;

      Luyseyal appeared to relax, but Anteac remained unmoving. She was not satisfied with the Oracle.

      Why is it that foolishness repeats itself with such monotonous precision? Leto wondered. His memories offered up countless scenes to match this one-caverns, priests and priestesses caught up in holy ecstasy, portentous voices delivering
      dangerous prophecies through the smoke of holy narcotics.

      He glanced down at the iridescent vial on the ledge beside Moneo. What was the current value of that thing`? Enormous. It was the essence. Concentrated wealth concentrated.

      “You have already paid the Oracle,” he said. “It amuses me to give you full value.”

      How alert the women became!

      “Hear me!” he said. “What you fear is not what you fear.”

      Leto liked the sound of that. Sufficiently portentous for any Oracle. Anteac and Luyseyal stared up at him, dutiful supplicants. Behind them, an acolyte cleared her throat.

      That one will be identified and reprimanded later, Leto thought.

      nice try, tho; tehKJA tried to pass that one off, too…
      back when they bothered trying to make up excuses for
      their inconsistencies … now, you’ll just get banned
      and deleted from the Corporate Dune webpages for pointing
      such things out …. (Paul was born on Caladan ….)

  10. range Avatar

    It’s one thing that it was mentioned by Leto II in passing, it’s another thing of creating a BS character out of Norma to make the Oracle.

    Anyways, I thought that the new Dune wasn’t up to par with the standard set by the original Dune cycle, as written by Frank Herbert.

  11. חולית : עולם המדבר האינסופי « המולטי יקום של אלי אשד Avatar

    […] המסיים שאותו תכנן הרברט לכתוב ולא הספיק. אלו הם "הציידים של חולית "  שיצא לאור ב-2006 ו"עקלתוני  חולית " שיצא לאור בשנים […]

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