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Heretics of Dune

(Dune #5)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  50,406 ratings  ·  836 reviews
With more than ten million copies sold, Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune books stand among the major achievements of the human imagination. In this, the fifth and most spectacular Dune book of all, the planet Arrakis--now called Rakis--is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying. And the children of Dune's children ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 471 pages
Published August 15th 1987 by Ace Books (first published April 15th 1984)
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S There are a few, but they appear to be out of print. Of course, there are probably used copies available on Amazon and Ebay. His son. Brian Herbert,…moreThere are a few, but they appear to be out of print. Of course, there are probably used copies available on Amazon and Ebay. His son. Brian Herbert, wrote the most recent biography, which is not a sugarcoated portrayal of his father, but in the end, a loving one.

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Start your review of Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5)
The guards ushered Frank into the office. As usual, the Reverend Publisher was seated at her desk, writing.

So many lives touched by her decisions, he thought.


She looked up. He had promised himself that he would not flinch before the fire of her gaze, and once more he broke his promise.

"It is... almost finished."

"Almost." Her irony was palpable, a force. "Almost is not enough. You know that, Frank. When will it be done?"

"I think.../>So
Michael Finocchiaro
I know, you are like, wait, 5 stars? Really? And I am, like, I really enjoyed this book. I mean, I learned about much of the Dune universe that was never mentioned in the first four books (sex, Ix, the Tleilaxu, the Bene Geserit proscription of love...) and I really liked Teg amd Odrade and even Lucillle and the new ghola. The action was great especially at the end (even if Teg’s capture of the Honored Matre’s no-ship was frustratingly fast-forwarded. Philosophically, there was a LOT to chew on ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I put this one on the backburner for years and years and years, even though I attempted to re-read the series several times over the decades, I always got stuck right at the end of God Emperor of Dune and something in me just didn't want to pick up the two novels afterward.

This is strange to me! I thought the fifth and sixth books were rather awesome, frankly!

And that's why I'm skipping books 2, 3, and 4 altogether and jumping right back in to the books that I have
Jun 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Not much time has passed since the events in the end of the previous book – measly 1500 years. Considering the fact that God Emperor was an undisputed ruler of the known Universe for exactly 3 times as long as that, this time period is nothing. As such not much has changed – believe it or not. For comparison take modern state of humanity and that of 1500 years ago and think whether it is possible at all for humans to stagnate for this long. I honestly do not believe it.
Not much time has passed since the events in the end of the previous book – measly 1500 years. Considering the fact that God Emperor was an undisputed ruler of the known Universe for exactly 3 times as long as that, this time period is nothing. As such not much has changed – believe it or not. For comparison take modern state of humanity and that of 1500 years ago and think whether it is possible at all for humans to stagnate for this long. I honestly do not believe it.
Now and Then

Anyhow, with the God Emperor finally out of the picture the power-grab games are in full swing with everybody trying to out-power everybody else, the consequences and such minor annoyances as countless lives of insignificant people be damned. To add to the fun, a new and a very dangerous fraction came into being – completely out of the blue and unexpected I might add. Their bid for power shapes the majority of the book. As Leto II never bothered to explain (or even to hint) what the Golden Path is, it is not clear whether these new people are part of the plan, or whether they were as unexpected by the guy as by us readers.

Let me start by saying this book is miles ahead of the previous one in terms of quality and excitement. The main reason for this is that it takes a special kind of talent to write something worse than God Emperor of Dune. That one consisted of pointless philosophical rumblings for about three fourths and teen angst (of the worst kind) in the last quarter – coming from a creature who lived 35 centuries, no less.
Teen Angst

This tale starts with cloning of Duncan Idaho. Let me put some things in the perspective. He was initially cloned in book 2 which was kind of cheap trick to bring a dead guy back, but it least that action served a very well explained purpose. In book 4 Leto II kept cloning the guy non-stop during his endless reign (3500 years – in case you forgot). At that point this particular trope has overstayed its welcome. You can imagine that this same act in the beginning of this book felt like a really bad joke – I hoped the madness would stop after Leto II was out of the picture.
A Bad Joke
To add an insult to the injury, nobody bothers to explain what was so outstanding about the guy to begin with: he was loyal and heroic, but he did not possess any qualities making his presence necessary for literally everybody and their brother in the Universe. Every single action was revolved around his brand new sparkling clone and nobody seems to have any clue why he is so goddamn important.

On the positive side nobody makes long speeches anymore; this is a major improvement. As the book is slightly under 500 pages this means stuff actually happens unlike in the previous book. In fact there were some really fast-paced moments. If only somebody bothered to explain why people did what they did, I would have appreciated them so much more.

On the negative side I could not care less about a single character. Often I found myself wishing all of them would perish at the end. Please do not get me wrong: I did not wish for all of them to die horribly; a gentle kind death would suffice. On one hand we have people returning from unknown parts of the Universe; they are pissed off at everybody and we do not have their POVs which makes it hard to learn their motivations. On the other hand we have the Bene Gesserit who are heartless by definition: killing all of their emotions – love first and foremost - is a part of their training. All of the power players are perfectly fine with completely wiping out the whole planets that had a misfortune of being in their way.
The Death Star
So tell me, which side to root for? Another relevant question: why would I care about anybody?

At least some of Bene Gesserit members have POVs. They face a mortal threat, but it does not stop them any from their own inside power struggle; business as usual. I already said this before, but it is worth repeating again: all of the problems of Bene Gesserit could be easily solved by having them work a regular soul-sucking work we all do from 9 to 5. The real life showed this to be true over and over again.
a Soul-Sucking Work

At this point if you stop and think about it, the story took a completely different turn from the original classic book; the only things in common between them are some of the names. Everybody who is somehow significant is a descendent of Atreides line. Poor Duncan Idaho clone is the only exception. To my complete surprise the story has quite a big sexual themes with at least one very explicit description of a sex act. I am not a prude by any definition, but this looks completely out of place. By the way, do not expect that description I mentioned to be a good piece of erotic literature.

So in conclusion this is light years ahead of the previous book. This one has exciting action scenes, intrigues, and double-crossings. I only wish somebody would bother explaining to me why all of these things were necessary. I give it 3 stars and leave it at this.
Buddy read with Athena!

“The surest way to keep a secret is to make someone think they already know the answer.”

The tyrant God Emperor has returned to the sands of Dune. The universe that was once ruled by Houses Corrino and Atreides have fallen into chaos and is controlled by dozens of bickering factions. The Bene Gesserit and the Tleilaxu struggle for power, but their ambitions are contested by billions of humans returning from the Scattering. But on the surface of Dune, a small girl might be able/>“The
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I often complain about series and deride their success but here I am reading a series and I think I understand the attraction: escapism, pure and simple. As the pages turned I smiled, recognizing Bene Gesserit (now with more fully described superhuman powers – like Jedi), Duncan Idaho, and yes even the great worms. I surrounded myself, wrapped up like a great cozy blanket, in the familiarity of the world building and closed the door to this reality. I think maybe that is why series are so popula ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes the entirety of Frank Herbert’s Dune series even after you get past the first three volumes and the direct history of Muad’Dib and his family and start wading into some seriously weird stuff (and saying that the later volumes of the series are weird when you compare them to the earlier ones is saying something). Don’t worry though, I’m not crazy enough to have anything but contempt for that cash grab series of prequels and sequels floated by Herbert’s ...more

2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

I do love the Dune universe, but I usually limit my re-reading to the first three books. The fourth book, God Emperor of Dune, is definitely the worst of the bunch, in my opinion, and yet I’m glad I read it long, long ago so that I knew what the main characters in Heretics were talking about! (Not enough to re-read God Emperor, mind you.)

Things I like in this book? Miles Teg, beloved Bashar and Atreides descendent and his interesting development in the last chapters. Yet anoth
Eric Allen
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Heretics of Dune
Book 5 of the Dune Chronicles

A Dune Retrospective by Eric Allen

Heretics of Dune is a bit of an odd book in my experience. The first time I read God Emperor of Dune I was so put off the series by it that I refused to pick Heretics up for almost an entire decade. When finally I did pick it up, reading through the entire series again with the hope that age had given me new perspective on life to keep God Emperor from sucking so hard, it was probably my sec
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
It speaks volumes of this book that up until the last six pages I had absolutely no idea what the endgame was; yet throughout, I was riveted to the page. Herbert's ability to introduce you to a pre-existing world with all of its complexities and idiosyncrasies without telling you a damned thing is at its best in Heretics of Dune, which delineates the decline of the God Emperor's vast domain over which he reigned as a Tyrant for 3500 years.

Organizations at varying degrees of the grotesque, cland
Bob R Bogle
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: herbert

[Nota Bene: As Frank Herbert's last two published novels in the Dune series, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune, along with the unwritten Dune 7, in fact comprise a single story that happened to be divided into three parts, I'll post the same review for both of the two published volumes. This review contains no spoilers.]

During the first half of his literary career, Frank Herbert focused most on coming to terms with what it meant to be conscious. The evolution of his thinking on the subject can be trace[Nota
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Compared to the questionable God Emperor of Dune, this regains some of the original Dune novels taste for plots, counter-plots, espionage, conspiracies and so on. God Emperor of Dune was too heavy with little action to break it up, and besides, it was so hard to visualise Leto II as the hybrid creature he became. Heretics of Dune however is a big return to form, with lots of action and different character focus, combined with the mysticism, religion and philosophical discourse that characterises ...more
Sandeep Vasudevan
Finally! I haver been dreading reading this book for ever so long, and now the alarm bells seem to have been superfluous. Lulled into a false sense of doom and with jangling nerves fostered by the utter metaphysical crap that were the second, third and fourth books of the Dune series, and God Emperor of Dune was singularly mind-numbing, this gave my jangling nerves rest.

What's different? Well, there's still a lot of obscure talk, but some of it finally is relieved with some actual AC
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Another superb installment in one of the best science fiction series of all time. The universe that Herbert created for the Dune series is as good as it gets and his writing and story telling are amazing. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!
Athena Shardbearer
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Buddy Read with Markus

Hey old worm, was this your design?

Soooooo much better than the last book.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Heretics of Dune begins a new cycle in the Dune Series. Or, more accurately, an evolution -- consequence -- of the cycle identified in Dune. I enjoyed Heretics of Dune far more than God Emperor, although God Emperor was a necessary bridge between Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune, and Heretics, as well as Heretic's sister novel, Chapterhouse Dune.

Several of the characters are fantastic, in particular Miles Teg, who provides a necessary balance (oddly enough, given the typical focus on me
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first novel of a new trilogy with apperently the Bene Geserit sisterhood as leading characters who are still involved or lead by the vision of Leto II. There are indeed strong links to the previous Dune books and characters and history.

As always Frank Herbert does seems to really instill a sense of beauty and at the same time mystery in his writing. Something that seems to be lacking in the writing of the continuation writers. And of all the actors in the Dune books I ha
Adrian Ciuleanu
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First thing let me say that I've read this book three times over the years and in my opinion Heretics of Dune is one of the best books in the saga, up to par with the first one. While the previous book, God-Emperor was quite philosophical heavy and some might say action-less, the fifth book is nothing like that and returns to original form, with lots of action, different character focus, various plots, combined with the mysticism, religion and philosophical discourse we were used to. The events ...more
Brandon St Mark
I’ve come the conclusion that the last two Dune books (or should I say the last two original Dune books) are just not for me. The first time I tired reading them earlier this year I was also watching a lot of videos about Frank Herbert. Many of them touched on how he treated his gay son who died of AIDS, and it bothered me a lot. At the time I DNF’ed this book because as I have said many times I do not believe in separating art from the artist, and I just lost interest in the book because of wha ...more
Yassine Lachgar
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A major event in the Dune universe. A plot brilliantly set and written by Frank Herbert.
This is kind of an odd book. It takes place at least "several millennia" after God Emperor of Dune ends [based on the dust jacket], but a blurb inside implies it could be as much as ten thousand years after the fourth book. As a result, it is hard to quantify. The tempo of the book changes; it starts off 'slow' and plods along until the latter third-to-fourth of the book. Then, the pace noticeably quickens, due in part to how the story jumps around as it draws to a close. It is hard to follow at tim ...more
Nov 08, 2013 rated it liked it
In some ways, Heretics of Dune marks a significant departure from the previous installments in the Dune series. The plot is no longer focused on the Atreides family, but instead on the Bene Gesserit and its struggle for survival. Yet at the same time, it is a clear return to the original storytelling style of the first book. Rather than the pages and pages of philosophy present in God Emperor, Herbert has written a much more action-driven novel that further explores political powers and characters in the Du ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing

This is my absolute favorite Sci-Fi book that completely blew my mind when I first read it. It is much more then just a means of entertainment. It is perhaps one of the most revolutionary commentaries on the anthropological analysis of the usage of language, sexuality, ecology, economics, religion, and military power all tied together. I first read this book before any of the earlier books in the Dune series by Frank Herbert. Because it occurs thousands of years after the earlier books, it can b
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm not like a lot of these other reviewers. I thought this book, the fifth in the series, was fantastic and probably my second favorite after the first one. It's got that perfect Dune blend of sci-fi, politics, religion, intrigue, action, and great characters. I literally couldn't put this book down after the first 150 pages or so. The story begins some 1500 years after the death of Leto II from God Emperor of Dune and brings us up to speed on what happened in the aftermath of his death ...more
Jeremy Preacher
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I had read the first three Dune books many, many times, and the fourth one once, and decided I may as well try to get through the last two. (I had heard they were pretty terrible.) I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

Heretics is probably not the book anyone was expecting, which probably led to most of the ill-feeling about it. It's much less a philosophical work and much more an action-adventure story, and I'll tell ya, the sex gets weird. It's not so much a gender-politics thing (
Elwin Kline
2 out of 5 stars represents, "it was ok" according to the Goodreads rating system, and that is truly how I feel about this book. I know at the time of writing this Frank's wife was on her death bed from lung cancer and he still was under pressure to meet deadlines for the 5th installment of Dune, but hands down this has been the least enjoyable book in the series. To my friends and family who may be interested in getting into the amazing universe that which is Dune, at this point I would say sto ...more
Jeffrey Debris
This is the fifth instalment in the legendary Dune series. I heard many people say that, with each book, Frank Herbert got gradually worse with his books. Thus far I did not agree, but this book is definitely the least good one I've read so far. The story in itself, and the entire setting are wonderfully described. The moment I read the name Duncan Idaho, I knew I would love at least part of the story, which I did. But there were just a couple of things that didn't feel right, and I'll get to th ...more
Brian Clegg
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not quite up to its predecessor, an interesting step forward by Frank Herbert as he developed the Dune saga. The other titles to date have had one or two clear central characters - here there are far more, few of which it's easy to be wholly supportive of - in fact, the main character is the Bene Gesserit as a body, the manipulative female sect that has played a role throughout the books.

Although this lack of someone to identify with means the reader is slightly more detached f
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
I liked HoD, but I didn't love it.

It's starting to feel a little bit like a Mexican soap opera with so many things going on, and these guys plotting against these guys, but then these other guys are onto it, or are they, and some other guys suddenly get into the picture and it just becomes one huge clusterfuck that gets more and more complicated as we go along. And what happens is you kind of forget what the point of all this is.

However, there are too many positives in this novel for me to d
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
It took a while, probably the first 150 pages, before this book became an exhilarating, edge of my seat, terrifying experience. After the initial lull, I couldn’t read fast enough. Everything in the Dune universe is so extraordinarily deadly or coldly calculating. I really enjoyed the perspective of the Bene Gesserit, and felt like this book explained a lot of the ‘Golden Path’ that was thoroughly confusing and vaguely alluded to in the previous installment. In hindsight, I can appreciate God Em ...more
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Dune Fanatics: The Golden Path and the Scattering 4 55 Dec 17, 2013 06:26PM  

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Frank Herbert was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among th

Other books in the series

Dune (8 books)
  • Dune (Dune, #1)
  • Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2)
  • Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #3)
  • God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #4)
  • Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles, #6)
  • Hunters of Dune (Dune Chronicles #7)
  • Sandworms of Dune (Dune Chronicles #8)
“The surest way to keep a secret is to make someone think they already know the answer.” 85 likes
“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?” 73 likes
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