“Dune: House Atreides”
by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
read by Scott Brick
Produced by Tantor Media
approx. 26.5 hours

Back in 1999, Brian Herbert discovered some manuscripts left behind with more information on the universe of Dune, written by his father Frank Herbert.  Teaming up with Kevin J. Anderson they began a quest to add more stories to the “Duneverse” based on these manuscripts and their own talents in writing Science Fiction.  The first was the “Prelude to Dune” series.  This book “House Atreides”  was the first in this series.

Tantor Audio has re-released these books in audio book form and this time they aquired the award winning voice of Scott Brick.  Back when I first started listening to audio books Scott Brick was the first reader I heard.  After hearing his performance I became a huge fan of audio books.  There’s a reason Mr. Brick has won so many awards.  His voice is completely adjustable to any genre and his talents are fully expressed when reading a book with multiple characters.  When expressing the voice of another speaker in the dialogue in the book he can, with the subtlest of changes, change characters so the listener is treated to what nearly sounds like a multi-cast performance.  At the same time he can add the characters emotions into the voice to the utmost perfection.  Scott Brick is no stranger to the “Dune” series, he has voiced many of the audio books so he knows the material and I would have to say he is the perfect choice for the re-issue of these books.

“House Atreides” gives some information on the buildup of what created the situations leading to the epic novel “Dune,” by Frank Herbert.

An aging tyrant emperor rules the known universe, Emperor Elrood Corrino IX, and his son Shaddam IV, cannot wait for him to die, so that Shaddam may become emperor. He and his minion, Hasimir Fenrig devise a slow poison to kill off the old man so Shaddam may sit in the “Golden Lion Throne.”

While this is going on Elrood has some schemes going that could change the universe. Spice Melange, only found on Arrakis (Dune), is needed for the Spacing Guild to fold space, it prolongs life, and is highly addictive. “He who controls the spice, controls the Universe.” So Elrood has set out to devise an alternative to spice. Teaming up with the genetic scientist race of the Tleilaxu, Elrood has commissioned them to develop the newly engineered spice. As payment to the Tleilaxu, Elrood plans a takeover of the machine planet IX, where in place are the facilities for such a genetic engineering feat. To do this the House Vernius must be defeated. Instead of laying back and being defeated the house goes renegade, meaning they are no longer supported or recognized by the league and are criminals. The children are sent to Calidan to live with Duke Paulus Atreides. They are raised along with the Duke’s son, Leto Atreides.

Meanwhile the Bene Gesserit discover they are only 2 or 3 generations from the Kwisatz Haderach, a prophesied messiah figure. But first they must get Baron Vladimir Harkonnen to “donate the genetic material.” The first union of a Bene Gesserit sorceress and Harkonnen is deformed and must be repeated. This time Harkonnen violently rapes the sorceress and in the process she curses him with an incurable disease.

On Caladan, Paulus Atreides dies during a bullfight with a drugged Salusan Bull, and Leto becomes Duke. House Harkonnen has developed a ship that renders itself invisible. And frames House Atreides for an attack on the Tleilaxu.

In the meantime on Arrakis, Dune, Pardot Kynes a planetologist sent by Emperor Elrood, arrives on Arrakis and begins his duties there. He starts to dislike the Harkonnen rule there, and is getting more and more interested in the native Fremen of the desert and the possibility of terraforming the planet. Pardot is discovering more and more proof that some time, long ago, Arrakis was covered with giant oceans, and gets curious about what changed the climate to what it is today.

Once again another book filled with lots of material lots of action and great political interaction.

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