Review

The Winds of Dune

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

In the interest of full disclosure, I will make my admission
now. I never finished reading DUNE. I never got past page 50 or so.
So I don’t come into THE WINDS OF DUNE with a fountain of
knowledge and/or a great passion for the preceding work. Which
leads me to a second admission. THE WINDS OF DUNE is an
astonishingly good book.

The novel was originally slated to be called JESSICA OF DUNE,
and it certainly would have been fitting. Much of the book is from
her perspective. Changing the title to THE WINDS OF DUNE is also
fitting. This volume inserts itself into the Dune
chronology directly after the events of DUNE MESSIAH, in which
Paul-Muad'Dib, the Emperor of Dune, abandons his children and his
life by simply walking into the desert of Arrakis, leaving his
16-year-old sister, Alia, to serve as Regent. As such, the winds of
change begin to blow across the Imperium, and Alia must step forth
with strength and conviction to match her older brother or lose all
he worked hard to create.

As Alia struggles to find her own footing, and likewise to
uphold the deification of her brother throughout the galaxy, the
despised Bronso of Ix continues to hammer out treatises against
Paul. Seeking to undercut the myth, Bronso exaggerates and
manipulates the truth in the opposite direction of Alia and Irulan,
Paul's wife and biographer. Alia calls forth the full power of her
forces to track down Bronso and bring him to justice, salvaging her
brother's legacy.

These are major threads that weave through the narrative, but
mostly this is a book devoted to Jessica, and of her torment and
strength. As the mother of Paul and Alia, she is pulled in multiple
directions. Alia takes up the title of Regent, but Jessica is
disturbed by her actions in defense of Paul's legacy. She herself
is conflicted about Paul, her son. His death has shaken her, though
her Bene Gesserit training prohibits her from showing it, but she
is also haunted by the guilt that she had designs on killing him
because of the horrors of his jihad. The reason she never ended his
life is her secret, one she has borne for years, and the weight of
which has finally reached the point of needing to be told.

Equally important in this storyline is the revelation about the
friendship of Paul and Bronso, and the remarkable journey they took
together as young boys. Woven into the present day, Jessica reveals
the past partnership of House Atreides and House Vernius, the
strength of the bond between the fathers and the sons, and
ultimately the event that severed that bond, guiding Bronso on a
path to tear down the messianic image of his childhood friend,
Paul.

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have teamed up to write a
compelling story, one with great emotional depth, and enough action
and intrigue to keep the tale advancing at a decent pace. They also
serve the continuing saga by including kernels of plot that no
doubt see the light of day in CHILDREN OF DUNE and beyond. With THE
WINDS OF DUNE, they have succeeded in doing much more than
delivering a solid, enjoyable read. They have sparked an interest
in me to revisit that old abandoned tome once more, and in that
regard this work is a resounding success.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on January 24, 2011

The Winds of Dune
by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

  • Publication Date: August 4, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765322722
  • ISBN-13: 9780765322722