The Dune saga has been around for almost half a century (Frank Herbert’s original book was written in 1965). Thanks to the strong literary pedigree carried on through the Herbert gene along with the talented partnership of an established famous bestselling author, the epic story continues to expand for the throng of dedicated fans. Having written many novels within the Dune universe, Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert and fellow author Kevin J. Anderson have once again joined forces to give readers another opportunity to enjoy the vision conceived by the elder Herbert.
Mentats of Dune is the second book in the highly anticipated Great Schools of Dune trilogy (preceded in 2012 by the novel Sisterhood of Dune also published by Tor). Set after the defeat of the thinking machines, the universe is rampant with choices of faith, fanaticism and revenge.
As the influence of the anti-technology Butlerian interests increases against the thinking machines, the future of human civilization falls to the Mentats (trained as human computers with highly analytical abilities), the mutated Navigators of interstellar space, and the Sisterhood on Wallach IX. In this twisting space saga with a unique focus on colorful characters, the vulnerability of human existence may be best expressed in the personal notes and remarks (presented in chapter prefaces) of the character Mother Superior Raquella Berto-Anirul:
“Humans never stop looking for ways to make their lives easier. Yet in taking that course they weaken the speies and accelerate the process of genetic atrophy. When the Butlerians rail against computer, they have inadvertently stumbled upon this truth, yet in our quest to breed the perfect human we rely on computers. We have no alternative.”
“One of my primary tasks in advancing the cause of the Sisterhood is to think of human society as a whole, rather than in terms of small family units. We are much bigger than that. A first step is to break the natural bond between mother and child, to expose a girl from infancy to her larger role in humankind. That powerful, but limiting, emotional connection must be diverted and rechanneled, so the energies of both mother and child are devoted to the future, rather than to petty personal concerns.”
Even though the vast universe of Dune is quite complex for the tepid fan (and for some avid fans as well), Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson is presented in a thorough and methodic fashion, making the journey a pleasure for anyone who turns the pages. Fans of Dune can rest assured because the legacy of Frank Herbert is in good hands.