Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #5)

ISBN: 0399128980
ISBN 13: 9780399128981
By: Frank Herbert

Check Price Now


Currently Reading Dune Fantasy Favorites Fiction Sci Fi Sci Fi Fantasy Science Fiction Sf To Read

About this book

The planet Arrakis is becoming desert again. Lost ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the children of Dunes children awaken from empire as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love.

Reader's Thoughts

Peter Greenwell

It's an improvement over the book before it, though I will add, it's a marginal improvement. It's certainly a touch more enjoyable. However alas...once again, we have faceless characters who do little more than have short, sharp dialogue constructions with one another. I found myself skimming through some of the literary square miles of endless talk to get to where something actually happens.I love the cover- the girl Sheeana dancing before the sandworm. Evocative. Shame it's the most evocative thing about this book.


More of what you’d expect from a Dune book. Full of all the plotting (plans within plans!), pithy philosophical tidbits and giant worms you could ask for. As per usual I was perplexed just as often as I was enthralled by the loaded conversations and veiled schemes permeating this story. As with the previous three Dune books, this one doesn’t quite live up to the original. However, it gains some major points for not having Jabba the Hutt as the protagonist. Anyone who survived God Emperor should find something to enjoy in this one.


Leto's vision has come true. The human race has scattered across the universe, making sure it will never again stagnate in one place and risk total extinction. But the Bene Gesserit are struggling with a new enemy. The Honoured Matres, who may or not by based on their own society, have returned to the old Empire, determined to dominate it with their own brand of law, sex and power. Meanwhile, back on Dune, a young girl witnesses the death of her whole family by a sandworm. Instead of killing her, it allows her to mount and seems to obey her commands. Soon, she too will be drawn into the political machinations of the Empire.I have to say that I could not remember a thing about my first reading of this book. Maybe it went a bit over my head at the time, but I was enthralled by the story this time around. The ending is a surprise and yet leaves the story open to be explored in so many ways. Another great read.


It must have been difficult for Frank Herbert to write this book. It's the first book of the original Dune Saga that does not deal directly with Paul or Leto II. We can clearly see that Herbert studied the effects of history on societies. There are lots of changes between "God Emperor of Dune" and this's even a completely different universe! For thousands of years, Leto II was ruling a vast Empire and trying to save humanity by setting on the Golden Path. Since then, that peace and structure has decayed. The mass exile that followed the famine times also had a profound impact. The Tyrant may be gone, but the universe still feels his stranglehold.The author's fascination for sex is both interesting and disturbing. There are two reasons for this. First, the story takes place in a future that is very far away. Humans (as well as different groups) have a very different understanding of sexual energy. The second reason is tied to the first. Because humans have gained a different understanding of sex, they are now explaining it without even referring to previous theories on sex (the ones of our time, for example). In a way, Herbert is extremely successful in describing a possible future and immersing the reader in the philosophies of said future. The only problem with this, is that it could quite unsettling.Even though i thought it was a bit boring to read a book that had nothing to do with the original Atreides, it was interesting to learn about some of the other factions that vie for power, notably the Bene Gesserit but ESPECIALLY the Bene Tleilax. In this novel, we finally obtain a lot of information on how the Bene Tleilax function (as well as the secret to their infamous Axolotl tanks).Last but not least, we have the people from the Scattering. Those are the people that have exiled themselves after the death of Leto II, and they are returning. Their leaders, calling themselves "Honored Matres", are a "bastardized form" of the Reverend Mothers. They are basically wielding the powers of sex in to gain power. This isn't their only weapon. They come with an arsenal. In order to survive their attack, the Bene Gesserit, along with the Bene Tleilax, might have to use some uncommon tactics...All in all, this was an interesting novel. It revealed a lot more information from different perspective (even though the narration was a bit Sisterhood-centric). I did not find it as interesting as "God Emperor of Dune", but it give an interesting ;look at how the world would change after being ruled for so long.

Simon Mcleish

Originally published on my blog here in February 1999.Another few thousands of years have passed since the events of God Emperor of Dune; Emperor Leto is long gone, though a tiny part of his awareness lives in each of the great spice worms which have re-colonised Arrakis, turning it into desert once again. Freed by Leto's death, humankind has begun a massive expansion, colonising new planets in no-ships, devices incapable of being tracked by the prescient; they themselves, carrying genes from Siona, the final link in Leto's breeding plan for humanity, also invisible to these watchers. (One of his aims was to make it impossible for anyone to set up a tyranny over the whole human race again, by letting colonies be founded that would be impossible to trace.)Of the various power groupings in what is now known as the human core when Leto died, only the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax still retain much power; each has continued to pursue their own agenda, through religious and psychological manipulation and biological engineering respectively. But they are now facing a massive challenge: people from the Scattering are beginning to return, having made new discoveries and developed new abilities.The substance of the book is about organisations with an incredibly lengthy tradition (many thousands of years longer than any organisation in existence today) and a virtual monopoly of political power having to work out and implement changes to ensure survival in the face of a rapidly changing political and technological situation. This scenario is well developed, with a role for action as well as thought (though the action is sometimes used to cover up weaknesses in the plotting). If the scenario interests you, so will the book. If not, you will probably not get far into it without giving up.

Herman Gigglethorpe

This one is hard to review. I really like the Dune series, and I enjoyed this one quite a bit while reading it. However, there are some things that bring it down to a 3.*SPOILERS*The main problem is the weird sexual theme to this book. Although one can understand the Honored Matres thing to an extent (a less subtle splinter group of the Bene Gesserit), does it really have to be this distracting? What makes it worse is that Duncan Idaho's "hidden Tleilaxu power" is that he can do hypno-sex too! At least the Bene Gesserit kept it more in the background. I wondered how much of a pervert Frank Herbert was after finishing this. It's almost as though he fantasized about his own fictional characters. . .I liked this book, but this makes me want to stay away from Chapterhouse Dune.Another thing is that the way Miles Teg gets his powers is a stretch even for this series. A new probe from the Scattering tortures him enough to somehow give him super-speed and the power to see no-ships? I know Dune is big on the superpowers, but at least the Kwisatz Haderach and Bene Gesserit stuff is well-established from the first book. Frank Herbert also never explains why Sheeana can talk to the sandworms, if I remember correctly. Does Leto II just have a special relationship with her?The book is a bit slow paced, though not to the point where it turned me off completely. Frank Herbert as usual provides the political intrigue and assassinations that every Dune book needs. There's some more action in this than in God Emperor (never technically completed that one, but that was because I had other things to do at the time. I just remember Leto II monologuing a lot), since Miles Teg and Duncan Idaho get to fight on occasion. Not to mention Arrakis/Rakis is burned to a crisp at the end. The technology changes to the series shake it up a bit too. No-ships can avoid detection, new hunter-seekers mean that the characters fight with guns instead of sword fighting with the shields, and of course the chairdogs are so weird that they fascinate me.This is an entertaining book overall, but the bizarre sexual themes can turn many readers off, which is why I couldn't make it a 4 or 5.A drinking game for this book (pick only one condition):-Drink every time Muad'Dib is misspelled as Maud'Dib, at least if you're reading the Ace Science Fiction printing (the one with the blue cover). I don't know if other editions have this issue.-Drink every time the words "powindah" and "whore" appear.

Dave Johnson

wow, i thought this book was really great. i actually liked this even more than some of the earlier books (that may sound strange to some people). thousands of years in the future, this takes place on a world that has change a LOT since the first dune. many of the old landmarks are gone, the worms are strange and different, and the fremen are even more wild than they were before. what i loved the most about this book, though, was that it told a story from the bene gesserits' point of view. in the first three books, they were almost an enemy, something to fear and dread, but in this book and in the next one, you really identify with them and really sympathize with their past and their plans for the future. another turn that i really enjoyed was the obvious scif-ishness of it. it seemed even "more scifi" than some of the other books, which i liked. (i like all the books)if you've read any of the other ones, i have to say that its still good, and i think its VERY good.


ive always felt that frank herbert was a pretty bad write, yet the dune universe is so fascinating and unique that his dune books are still worth it (i feel very similar about HP lovecraft by the way...)i must say that i felt this one to be just a huge waste of time though, and it definitely did not make me want to read part 6. dune 5 takes place thousands of years into the future from the first four books, which doesnt matter since nothing has changed really, which makes it really tedious if you ve read the other books recently. its too bad that herbert didnt use the chance of the huge leap in time to introduce some new concepts into the series, instead its just the usual raving about breeding programs and deception, nothing you dont know from the other books already...the reader is as much left in the dark about the whole point of anything as any of the characters in the story, which are all pretty opaque and unlikeable anyways. the end is another letdown, after the book finally takes up some pace towards the end there is no real conclusion... i guess i would have to read the last part of the series for it to make any sense, but im not sure i will invest my time in that...

Andrew Wright

This is the point where the Dune series begins to irrevocably plummet downhill. Once Herbert introduced the idea of animal sex slaves into the mix, I was done really. Or rather, I should have been done, but unfortunately, I read the next one too. My advice to everyone is to stop this series at God Emperor of Dune and to go no further.

Lily C

This book made me appreciate how the Dune series, spanning several millennia, creates an interwoven story of how history, mythology, and religion evolve over time. Like the rest of the Dune books, Heretics elicited a mixture of feelings from me, not the least of which is confusion - which perhaps is fitting for a book full of characters who constantly make guesses, calculations, and/or leaps of faith in the dark. But also like the earlier Dune books (before Children of Dune, anyway), I was really drawn into the stories of several people, especially Miles Teg. I was happy to see a character showing some Atreides backbone and loyalty, which I thought had been long lost. I also liked how this book focused on the Bene Gesserit, making them less inscrutable and more relatable, as well as on other female characters. However, I felt that the portrayal of the Honored Matres was a little over-the-top, and at times borderline misogynistic in the way it narrowly defined the ways in which women become powerful. Partly because of this, and partly because the plot seemed to drag on without sufficiently sharp motivation, I enjoyed this book less than I initially expected.

Adrian Ciuleanu

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 in the book are some thousand years after the death of Leto II and this time the main focus of the book is on the Bene Gesserit. Old players like Bene Tleilaxu, the Guild, Ixians and Duncan Idaho (who is yet again resurrected as a ghola) are still present. However, we also have some new ones, like the Priests of Rakis and the Honored Matres (which are the main evil characters of the book). All of them have their different schemes and goals, they plot and fight against each other and it all culminates with quite an unexpected outcome. But, the best thing I liked about this book is Miles Teg, Bene Gesserit’s veteran Bashar. He is my favorite character from all Dune books.Heretics of Dune is a must read and people who by any chance stopped reading the saga after God-Emperor of Dune are making a grave mistake.

Robyn Blaber

I wonder now how my high school friends were able to deal with this series when it challenges many of the thoughts floating around in my middle-aged brain. Apart from the loose plot line, the book talks about the nature of political governance, religious governance, the nature of free will, sex as a form of enslavement, immortality, the genetic inheritance of memories, the nature of being, the nature of time... It's supposed to all be science fiction, but here's the rub. Years after this was published we are having trouble proving that we actually have free will. Studies indicate that we have some knowledge of the future, the kind of prescience talked about in the book. The more we learn, the less fantastical this book seems to be and the more prophetic.Star Trek-style science fiction gave us new devices which scientists and engineers continue to develop in real life. Dune gives us philosophy and perhaps a preview of the future of human development. Too often we think of our species as finished to perfection and rarely does science fiction advance our species beyond a few gimmicks. I remain thoroughly impressed by Herbert's universe.


My favorite of the series so far (with the possible exception of the first book) although not enough for another whole star. I liked that it focuses on the Bene Gesserit since most of my favorite characters in the series have been Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers. The series continues to have interesting things to say about religion and the way it influences people and the way it can be used to manipulate. It also explores the power of sexuality and reverses the male/female dominant/dominated dichotomy in interesting ways.


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 ACTION! Things HAPPEN, people DO things, there's a lot of running around, shouting, shooting laser beams and wild martial arts contests at superhuman speed. There are also a sect of women who have achieved the highest amplification of orgasm and use sex as a weapon. There are still the Bene Gesserit sisters strutting around like they're the cat's whiskers. And we actually get to get OFF Dune the Planet for a change. Good fun!

Guilherme Gontijo

Quando comecei a ler esse livro tive a curiosidade de conferir alguns reviews na página dele. Para minha surpresa muitos estavam o qualificando com notas entre 01 e 03 estrelas. As justificativas apresentadas para tal infâmia eram as de que Frank Herbert havia se perdido após a primeira trilogia de Duna e tinha se vendido ao mercado de editoras e publicações. Alguns chegaram a afirmar que apenas o primeiro livro valia alguma coisa e que os demais eram pura perda de tempo.Não tenho como não discordar de uma opinião tão egoísta por parte de alguns fãs. Creio que os reclamões sejam os mesmos que vivem dizendo que o primeiro disco da sua banda favorita é o único bom. Pessoas frescas que querem dar a história o rumo de suas cabeças inférteis. "Heretics of Dune" é uma magnum opus em muito melhor do que o livro anterior ("God emperor of Dune"). Muito acontece nesse livro e algumas cenas são o que podemos chamar de mindblowing. Se você quer explicações fáceis para tudo o que acontece em uma história, sugiro que vá ler Turma da Mônica (que é ótimo, por sinal). "Heretics of Dune" é, mais do que um simples livro, uma experiência em proporções bíblicas sobre a sobrevivência da raça humana e alteração do curso de auto-destruição da mesma."Philosophy is always dangerous because it promotes the creation of new ideas." - Frank Herbert

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *