Tom's Reviews > Chapterhouse: Dune

Chapterhouse by Frank Herbert
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's review
Oct 18, 07

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in October, 2007

Chapterhouse: Dune marks the final installment in Frank Herbert's original Dune Chronicles (though the story continues through another six prequels and two final sequels written by his son, Brian Herbert).

Set twenty or so years after the events in Heretics of Dune, readers may now follow the final confrontation between hyper-sexualized and dominating "Honored Matres," vs. the Rasputian, scheming Bene Gesserit, for control of the old empire and the fate of humanity (though in this installment, the Bene Gesserit come out of the myopic distortions of the first five and into a clearer, cleaner focus).

As with the other books, this one is full of remarkable insights into government, politics, economic necessity and - in short - human behavior; and as with the first five books, right up until the very end the conclusion is shrouded in mystery: what is the plan of Mother Superior Odrade? Who are the Honored Matres and from whence did they come? How is humanity to survive in the face of a newer, scarier enemy from beyond the empire?

Herbert's style is brisk and driven by both character and psychology - most often while a character is on the page, we know what that character is thinking, and so the story (while on the surface moving slowly) actually quite rapidly advances us through the thoughts of the main players while leaving the endgame an insolvable conundrum. Not the satisfying ending I'd have hoped for, Chapterhouse: Dune nevertheless rings true to life - perhaps the only answer to mystery is more mystery.
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