‘Dune: The Duke of Caladan’ Review

Release Date

Written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, this brand-new story takes place in the time leading up the events in the beloved classic 'Dune.'

This year has taken so much from all of us, including the much-anticipated adaptation of Dune by Denis Villeneuve. But not all is lost! To fill the void we still have Dune: The Duke of Caladan by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

Together, they have written a myriad of stories set in Frank Herbert’s vast Dune universe, covering the Butlerian Jihad, Machine Crusade, stories of the Bene Gesserit and Navigators and Mentats. So that leaves us wondering, what else is there to say?

But they continue to find new places to explore, and this novel focuses on Duke Leto Atreides. First in a planned Caladan Trilogy, we get to see many familiar characters, including the cunning Lady Jessica; Paul, her son with Duke Leto; weapons instructor Gurney Halleck; swordmaster Duncan Idaho; and Mentat Thufir Hawat.

Then, there are the sadistic Harkonnens, with their never-ending schemes.

The story opens with the Padishah Emperor celebrating the grand opening of a museum on the planet Otorio. But not everyone is happy about the event, and the excitement soon turns to chaos after a terrifying attack.

Shaken by the situation, the Emperor and his imperial Houses, including Harkonnen and Atreides, must deal with the aftermath. New enemies have appeared from the shadows, and unexpected threats come to light on otherwise peaceful Caladan as well.

In addition, Paul is growing up, and Leto and Jessica wrestle with how to steer him in the direction of becoming the next Duke. They discuss potential marriage partners, and Jessica schools him in the Bene Gesserit ways. He is learning to fight and defend himself, as well as discovering the importance of honor and duty, and we begin to see a glimpse of the young man who later forges his destiny on Arrakis.

This is a fast-paced, fun read, and it’s sure to help with the pangs of missing out on the film this year. If you have read the other Herbert/Anderson books, this is a wonderful addition to their stories. If your knowledge is limited to Dune, then it’s easy to find your footing with these familiar characters and places. And if this is your first step into the Dune universe, it’s a great first look into this world. However, the worldbuilding begun by Frank Herbert is vast and may be a bit overwhelming at first.

And if you’re undecided, you can check out the first two chapters on Tor.com here.