Dune House AtreidesThe Story Behind: Dune House Atreides
Dune House AtreidesDune House Atreides
Book Excerpt
The Story
Official Dune Website

Also available in audio

Also available in audio

Also available in audio


The Story Behind Dune: House Harkonnen
by Brian Herbert

When we took on the enormous challenge of revisiting the marvelous DUNE universe created by my father, Frank Herbert, I knew we had enormous shoes to fill. Along with JRR Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS and a handful of other works, DUNE stands as one of the greatest creative achievements and arguably the most brilliant example of world-building in the history of literature. Author Photo

Ten years after Frank Herbert's death, when Kevin J. Anderson and I had just decided to work together on an ambitious DUNE prequels project, an estate lawyer discovered two heretofore-unknown safety deposit boxes belonging to Frank Herbert. Inside those boxes lay papers and old-style floppy computer disks that included comprehensive notes for an unpublished "DUNE 7" - the long-awaiting sequel to CHAPTERHOUSE: DUNE. We also found boxes of my father's papers, literally thousands of hand-written notes about history of the DUNE universe, character background, story threads that had never been included in the novels Frank Herbert had written.

With this wealth of material, we knew for certain where Frank Herbert had been headed when developing this epic, and now we could weave the event of our prequels into the future grand finale for the series.

Happily, the first volume of the "Prelude to DUNE" trilogy, HOUSE ATREIDES, was a resounding success worldwide, appearing on numerous bestseller lists - even reaching #1 in some countries. The book was received well by the fans (our toughest customers!), who wrote us many letters of support and appeared in crowds during our book-signing tours; the members of the Science Fiction Book Club also voted HOUSE ATREIDES the " book of the year" by an overwhelming margin. More surprisingly, the novel has also proven to be a hit with notoriously cranky critics.

That said, we realized it was huge challenge to do better with second book in the trilogy. Some science fiction and fantasy readers believe that Book 2 is often weakest of the three, just a place-holder between the beginning and the end. But that doesn't have to be the case. We have written DUNE: HOUSE HARKONNEN to build on the platform Book 1, upping the stakes and adding plenty of twists to keep the story fresh and moving inevitably toward the climactic third novel. We planned this story in three parts from the beginning, and so the middle novel comes naturally.

In HOUSE HARKONNEN, readers will finally see the story of the troubadour warrior Gurney Halleck, beaten and enslaved by the Harkonnens until he escapes to finally join forces with Duke Leto Atreides. This book also tells the love story between Leto and Jessica, how Liet-Kynes (son of the great Planetologist Pardot Kynes, revered as a prophet on the desert world of Dune) becomes a man among the Fremen. Duncan Idaho spends years training to become Swordmaster of Ginaz. Exile Prince Rhombur Vernius steps up his efforts to recapture his oppressed planet of Ix from evil Tleilaxu, and Emperor Shaddam IV continues to pursue his secret plan to create a synthetic substitute for the priceless spice melange. The diabolical Baron Harkonnen puts into place grand dynastic plans --despite interference from his kind-hearted half-brother Abulurd - which will lead to the birth of the Baron's great hope, wily Feyd-Abulurd. Fans will also see exactly how Glossu Rabban earned his nickname of "Beast."

I honestly believe that DUNE: HOUSE HARKONNEN is even better than the first volume, with the plot threads ratcheted up to a higher pitch, with the emotion, drama, and tragedy made even more intense. I want to personally thank you as readers for your enthusiastic support, and I pledge to you that we will continue to write stories that are worthy of inclusion in the DUNE universe.

Brian Herbert
Author Biography

Brian Herbert, the son of Frank Herbert, is the author of numerous acclaimed science fiction novels, including Sidney's Comet; Sudanna, Sudanna; Prisoners of Arrion; Race for God; and Man of Two Worlds (written with Frank Herbert). He has also written Dreamer of Dune, a comprehensive biography of his illustrious father.

Kevin J. Anderson has written twenty-five national bestsellers and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Reader's Choice Award. He also holds the Guinness world record for "Largest Single-Author Book Signing."