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House Harkonnen

(Prelude to Dune #2)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  15,139 ratings  ·  277 reviews
Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson return to the vivid universe of Frank Herbert's Dune, bringing a vast array of rich and complex characters into conflict to shape the destiny of worlds....

As Shaddam sits at last on the Golden Lion Throne, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen plots against the new Emperor and House Atreides -- and against the mysterious Sisterhood of the Bene Gesser
Paperback, 733 pages
Published August 28th 2001 by Spectra Books (first published October 3rd 2000)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,139 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Start your review of House Harkonnen (Prelude to Dune #2)
Buddy read with Athena!

“Freedom is an elusive concept. Some men hold themselves prisoner even when they have the power to do as they please and go where they choose, while others are free in their hearts, even as shackles restrain them.”

The Imperium of the Known Universe is a place filled with plots and lies, conspiracy and murder. Emperors, noble houses and secretive orders vie for supremacy in a dangerous contest. And worst of them all is House Harkonnen, whose reputation for cruelty and treac
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson squeezed their expansive narrative House Harkonnen, book two of the Prelude to Dune trilogy, into an anemic 733 pages.

My summary:

Liet Kynes the planetologist is cool and a badass.

Gurney Halleck is an AWESOME hero!

The Harkonnens are assholes.

The Corrinos are not much better, more aristocratic and maybe more evil. Maybe.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was FAT BASTARD!

Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV was also an ASSHOLE!

Duke Leto Atreides was cool and a good leader.

Duncan Ida
Athena Shardbearer
Buddy read with Markus


Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

This was yet again another enjoyable read! Of course this book had its faults (the treatment of Jessica) but overall it was time well spent.

This Book=Tragedy

The Good

The progression of the story.
The Fremen.
Duke Leto Atreides
Warrick & Liet bromance
Gurney Halleck
Abulurd Harkonnen (The ONLY Harkonnen I'll ever like)
May 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utter drivel. The only Dune fans likely to enjoy this, or any of the so-called Dune books not written by Frank Herbert, are those who read the series strictly for the action, and not any of the political and cultural ideas or sophisticated characterizations that make the original books true masterworks of SF. I'm sure Frank's happy that he's able to provide a living for his son from the grave through his work, but if I were Brian I'd feel deeply ashamed to be cashing any checks generated from th ...more
Shelly - The Illustrated Librarian -
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any fan of "Dune"
Shelves: sci-fi
Dune is one of my all-time favorite books, and this is a great addition to the canon.

It's so exciting to learn the histories of the well-loved characters of Dune. Brian Herbert's writing style is very similar to his father's, so the book (and the whole prequel trilogy) doesn't seem out of place in the Dune universe.

We spend a lot of time with the young Duke Leto in this volume, along with his best friend, Prince Rhombur of the tech planet Ix. Readers also meet the loathsome Tleilaxu and learn a
Oct 12, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utter crap. I can't believe this man ever did research into his father's books as he claimed. There are massive in consistencies with the REAL "Dune" books. House Corrino is slightly better.
John Moulton
Sep 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
I covered my thoughts on the 'authors' and 'writing' in my review for House Atreides.

To cover the rest of my feelings for the books these two are spitting out like mindless machines: Frank Herbert must be spinning in his grave.

Mar 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Some worlds are not meant to be picked up by people other than the orginial author. This was one of them.
May 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
The entire "House" series is unreadable crap and an embarrassing exploitation of the author's father's name.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
God awful. I couldn't finish it. If the author's last name wasn't Herbert, security would have taken him out of the publisher's offices.
Jan 11, 2010 added it
Awful. This was on the shelf in our house in Thailand. Totally unreadable...No stars. The original Dune series by FRANK HERBERT rules it though.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash-can
This book was so bad I couldn't make it past the second chapter. Wish I could give negative stars to this travesty.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this one is the best of all of the nine prequel books.
John Shumway
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
*Same review for the Dune Universe*
GREAT books! VERY time consuming! Worth the time!

Ok here is the deal. If your not sure about starting a series this big, here is what I would do.
1. -- Read the 1st one by Frank Herbert "Dune" if you like it...

2. -- Read the "Legends Of Dune" series. Its 3 books written by Frank's son Brian and a author I really like by the name of Keven J. Anderson. Its a prequel that is so far in the past that it doesn't spoil the Original Dune series in any way, and you could
Jul 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
House Harkonnen - Good Evil: My review is listed below but first a disclaimer - I am disheartened by our rejecto-matic society where only the original version has merit and it is super cool to dismiss any new effort as bad. I did not read "The Maine Woods" and hold it up against Thoreau's Walden. On it own House Harkonnen is a fine work. I have just read many of the reviews herein and am shocked - no doubt they are by the same folks who did not like the Star Wars prequels - I guarantee that thes ...more
Timothy Boyd
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Building on his father's work Brian Herbert is a superb storyteller. A fantastic read. You finally get answers to many of the questions Dune made you wonder about. Highly recommended
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dune fanatics, sci-fi fans...
I really loved this book. Usually, I don't like sequels of great books because the sequel usually stain the reputation of the first book (read: "World Without an End"), but this is a case of a good prequel.

For one thing, I finally could see Duke Leto being the incredible man that everyone talked about in Dune. I felt like we couldn't really get a good feel for him in Dune; he was a good ruler according to many, but we don't see facts of that. In this book, however, we see that he really is a de
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you are a Dune fan, this is for you. I'm reading them out of order - House Atreides goes first, but it's so great to see the characters before they get to Dune. Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson write in a style so close to Frank Herbert, that the books are easily connected to the original Dune series. You finally see why the Baron is so grotesque, Jessica had a son, why Gurney and Duncan are so loyal, and who Duke Leto is. Great Read
Andrew Kubasek
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: completed
I really haven't been as impressed with the new "Dune" books as a lot of people have been. Yes, it takes place in the "Dune" universe. Yes, it has a lot of the background of the characters featured in the original books. Yes, it really sets the stage well. But they all seem to lack that subtle spark that the original books had.
John Stickel
Mar 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Absolute puke. I can't besmirch this or any of the other Brian Herbert Dune bastardizations any more than previous reviewers have done. I received a couple of these books as gifts and threw them in the trash after trying to get through the first couple chapters. Don't waste your time.
May 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
These books are complete trash and the writers should be embarrassed to be shitting on Dune's legacy.
Cathy Skipworth
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I started my Dune adventure I decided to read the books in chronological order starting with a short story called 'Hunting Harkonnens' the very beginning indroduced me to Piers Harkonnen stranded on Caladan hunted by Cymeks. Piers came over in a few short pages as a peacful, thoughtful, kind human being.
In the next book 'The Butlerian Jihad' you meet Piers brother Xavier who went on to become one of 3 heros of the Jihad giving his life like a martyr to stop the traitor Iblis Ginjo, Xavier H
Elwin Kline
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Sitting here ... trying to write a fair and impartial review... I find my thoughts landing on:

"Better than Heretics and Chapterhouse."

House Harkonnen has some really fun and very engaging sections, such as the (view spoiler) encounter (loved this part, I must say), how terrible and cruel Glossu "Beast" Rabban is, more backstory on Vladimir, the story of Pardot Kynes and Liet Kynes, and more backstory of Gurney Halleck.

My absolute favorite aspect of this book is everyth
Dora Milaje Crochet
I liked this better than the previous book in this series. Still fairly anemic compared to the original Frank Herbert novels.
I have read so many reviews that attack these preludes, but I am quite proud to stand up and say that I like them. No, they are not in the same league as the original Dune novels by Frank Herbert and they do have their problems, but they are also full of great characters, endless action, convoluted plots and wonderful settings, so there is no need to be so harsh on them!

Although the title leads you to believe that it focuses largely on the Harkonnen family, this isn't really true. They are just
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The House Trilogy is my favorite of all of the extended duniverse trilogies. It was the first one that I read and it has continually became a firm favorite for re-reads. Mainly because it is leading right up to the book that makes this series so popular - Dune.

In House Harkonnen we see the Baron, with his protigy Rabban, making plots within plots to squeeze every grain of spice out of Arrakis and to bring about House Atreides downfall. We see Kailea and Rhombur Vernius trying to ressurect their
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
While the House Trilogy had a few nice scenes, it was an ultimately unneccessary trilogy which was only exacerbated by the fact that Brian and Kevon chose to write this and another McDune trilogy BEFORE they finally did Dune 7 (and what a HUGE disappointment that was!)

Baron Harkonnen is getting fatter and fatter and he hates it and it makes him mad at the Bene Gesserit. In the real Dune books, he isn't bothered by this and seems to enjoy it, so Brian and Kevin basically ruined it for us by retco
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This series continues to amaze me. Seeing how the events of the first book settle, how the couples I recognize from the Frank Herbert books come together, and the intricate court intrigue all really impress me.

I had to put this book down when I was nearly finished and in the year it took me to get back to it I was surprised how much I forgot. I re-read from the middle and got caught up. It was amazing that the atmosphere is what I think about most often. Reading about Castle Caladan is like bei
Clark Hallman
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Dune: House Harkonnen is another excellent prequel to Frank Herbert’s Dune series. It was co-written by Herbert’s son and Kevin Anderson, who have collaborated on several other Dune prequels including Dune House Atreides. I really liked this one. It develops the total evilness of Baron Harkonnen and his nephew, Rabban. The Benne Gesserit enhance their involvement (and influence) in both House Attreides and House Harkonnon. Leto, who eventually will be Paul’s father, has a son with his concubine, ...more
Richard Radgoski
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As I stated in the first book of this series, I was concerned about the quality of the story vs the Original. I personally feel that the quality is on par. Dune is the penultimate story but this series does a great job getting all of the players into position for it. We are learning about Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck, Duke Leto, Jessica, the Harkonnen's and other plots and sub-plots. I have found the story fascinating.

The ending of this novel was rough - certain events, which you knew had to be
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Brian Patrick Herbert is an American author who lives in Washington state. He is the elder son of science fiction author Frank Herbert.

Other books in the series

Prelude to Dune (3 books)
  • House Atreides (Prelude to Dune #1)
  • House Corrino (Prelude to Dune #3)

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