Hunters of Dune
First edition cover
|Author||Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson|
|Cover artist||Stephen Youll|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (hardcover & paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3558.E617 H86 2006|
|Preceded by||Chapterhouse: Dune|
|Followed by||Sandworms of Dune|
The cliffhanger ending of Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse: Dune (1985) and his subsequent death in 1986 left some overarching plotlines unresolved. Released on August 22, 2006, Hunters continues the story of the danger posed to humanity by a remote, unnamed, but ever-present "great enemy". The novel is based on notes left behind by Frank Herbert, but that Hunters and its 2007 sequel Sandworms of Dune represent their version of what Frank Herbert referred to as Dune 7, his own planned seventh novel in the Dune series.
The first five chapters of the novel were available prior to the novel's publication via free download from the official Dune website, released monthly from March until July in 2006.
For three years, the no-ship has been in an alternate universe, carrying the gholas of Duncan Idaho and the famous military commander Miles Teg as well as the Bene Gesserit Sheeana, who has the mysterious power to control sandworms. Other passengers include the last Bene Tleilax Master Scytale, some Bene Gesserits, a group of Jews saved from Honored Matre oppression on the planet Gammu, seven small sandworms that can produce spice, and four captive Futars, fierce half-man/half-cat creatures bred to hunt Honored Matres. The mysterious Oracle of Time speaks to Duncan and brings the no-ship back into the 'regular' universe. However, it is soon discovered by the mysterious "old man and old woman", Daniel and Marty, first mentioned at the end of Chapterhouse Dune, who have unknown designs on the Ithaca and its passengers. The no-ship is nearly caught in their tachyon net, but escapes using the space-folding Holtzman engines.
Though the Honored Matres had destroyed all Bene Tleilax worlds, their descendants (the Lost Tleilaxu) have returned from The Scattering. Supposedly under their complete control are their improved Face Dancers, creatures who can mimic other humans exactly and go undetected by all known means. It is soon revealed that the Face Dancers have their own will and motives, as they kill the Tleilaxu Elder Burah and replace him with their own duplicate. They have now replaced all the Lost Tleilaxu Elders, as well as countless humans on various planets in the Old Empire. Their leader Khrone sends the scribe Uxtal (presumably the highest-ranking, if only, Lost Tleilaxu left alive) to serve the renegade Honored Matre leader Hellica, who has proclaimed herself Matre Superior and now rules the conquered Bene Tleilax homeworld, Tleilax.
On Chapterhouse, Murbella trains an elite strike force of Bene Gesserit using the combined skills of Bene Gesserits, Honored Matres, and 'lost' Swordmasters of the Ginaz. Her 'Valkyries' attack the rebel Honored Matre strongholds on other planets with success, in the process discovering that some of the Honored Matres are Face Dancers in disguise, undetectable until death.
On the no-ship, an attempt by rebel Bene Gesserits to murder the Leto II ghola is foiled by the child himself, seemingly able to change into a sandworm at will. The Paul ghola wants to remember his past; with the help of the Chani ghola, he steals and consumes an overdose of spice. This fails to awaken his past memories, but instead he has a vision in which he has been stabbed by another, evil Paul Atreides. After being discovered by the Bene Gesserit, he concludes that it is prescience. Sheanna’s own visions bring a warning from the legendary Reverend Mother Ramallo of Arrakis about the use of the gholas. She stops the ghola program from continuing until she can make sense of it all.
The story concludes with Daniel and Marty revealed to be Omnius and the independent robot, Erasmus. Before its destruction, the Omnius incarnation on Giedi Prime had launched 5,000 probes capable of constructing new machine colonies on any planets encountered. One of these probes eventually intercepted a signal transmitted by the last remaining Omnius on Corrin before it too was destroyed. Its forces and Synchronized Empire finally reassembled, the new version of the Evermind is on the way back to the Old Empire to destroy all humanity.
The New York Times said of Hunters of Dune that "Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson go through the motions, but they don't often seem to be having much fun with their material ... by the end of Hunters, they have done little more than set the table for Sandworms of Dune."
- Itzkoff, Dave (September 24, 2006). "Across the Universe: Dune Babies". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- Snider, John C. (August 2007). "Audiobook Review: Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J Anderson". SciFiDimensions.com (Internet Archive). Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Quinn, Judy (November 17, 1997). "Bantam Pays $3M for Dune Prequels by Herbert's Son". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Dune 7 blog: Conspiracy Theories." (December 16, 2005). DuneNovels.com (Internet Archive). Retrieved October 12, 2008. "Frank Herbert wrote a detailed outline for Dune 7 and he left extensive Dune 7 notes, as well as stored boxes of his descriptions, epigraphs, chapters, character backgrounds, historical notes — over a thousand pages worth."
- Neuman, Clayton (August 17, 2009). "Winds of Dune Author Brian Herbert on Flipping the Myth of Jihad." AMCtv.com (Internet Archive). Retrieved March 31, 2014. "I got a call from an estate attorney who asked me what I wanted to do with two safety deposit boxes of my dad's ... in them were the notes to Dune 7 -- it was a 30-page outline. So I went up in my attic and found another 1,000 pages of working notes."
- "Before Dune, After Frank Herbert." Amazon.com (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2008. "Brian was cleaning out his garage to make an office space and he found all these boxes that had "Dune Notes" on the side. And we used a lot of them for our House books."
- "Interview with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson." Arrakis.ru (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2008. "We had already started work on House Atreides ... After we already had our general outline written and the proposal sent to publishers, then we found the outlines and notes. (This necessitated some changes, of course.)"
- Ascher, Ian (2004). "Kevin J. Anderson Interview." DigitalWebbing.com (Internet Archive). Retrieved July 3, 2007. "... we are ready to tackle the next major challenge — writing the grand climax of the saga that Frank Herbert left in his original notes sealed in a safe deposit box ... after we'd already decided what we wanted to write ... They opened up the safe deposit box and found inside the full and complete outline for Dune 7 ... Later, when Brian was cleaning out his garage, in the back he found ... over three thousand pages of Frank Herbert's other notes, background material, and character sketches."
- Adams, John Joseph (August 9, 2006). "New Dune Books Resume Story." SciFi.com (Internet Archive). Retrieved December 19, 2007. "Anderson said that Frank Herbert's notes included a description of the story and a great deal of character background information. 'But having a roadmap of the U.S. and actually driving across the country are two different things,' he said. 'Brian and I had a lot to work with and a lot to expand...'"
- Snider, John C. (August 2007). "Audiobook Review: Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson." SciFiDimensions.com. Retrieved February 15, 2009.