This third and final book of the "Legends of Dune" series wraps up all three "Legends" books with a bang and a preparedness for the Dune Universe. I will warn you fellow reader that this review will contain some spoilers but trust me the reading of the book will still keep you going even if you have a hint as to what may take place.
In their mission to explain some of the mythos created by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson have created a great set of prequals to the Dune Universe in the 3 "Legends of Dune" books. There is some great science-fiction writing in these books. Some "Dune"/Frank Herbert fans have been upset by the addition of robots into the Dune Universe by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, but if you really read into the books the hints have been there that there is something more to the thinking machines and I think with the "Legends of Dune" Series they have explained enough to still fit in with Frank Herbert's philosophy.
This book takes place 100 years after the beginning of the Butlerian Jihad and about 100 years before the forming of the Guilds, and is separated into 2 parts. Basically the Jihad is still going on but this time the thinking machines with some help from some human traitors, develop a biological weapon to destroy humanity. This scourge is a virus that can wipe out at least 50% of a planets population within a couple of weeks. Once the humans find out that the source of the virus is the evermind Omnious and the thinking machines, it is too late. However a miracle prevention and almost cure exists within the Spice Melange. Now with humanity spending all it's efforts on healing, Omnious gathers all his warships to the planet Corrin for one final attack to destroy all humans. This plan is found out just in time and while all the ships are gathering on Corrin preparing for launch. Jumping to action, Vorian Atraides uses what few (still unreliable) space-folding ships are available and begins nuking all the unprotected synchronized worlds, destroying all but Corrin. At Corrin rather, than destroying the planet the Jihadi warships put a scrambler field around the planet which destroys all gel circuitry machines entering or leaving the planet. Thinking this puts an end to the thinking machines reign of terror, the Jihad is considered over and won by the humans.
However, this still leaves 2 enemies of humanity the thinking machines on the planet and the Cimeks. Although the cimeks numbers are dwindling and are only down to 3 of the original Titans, they are finding new recruits for the new-cimeks.
The Army of the Jihad is renamed the Army of Humanity and once again the League of nobles become complacent. Vorian Atreides is constantly warning the league of problems that could come but he is ignored. Also the Xavier Harkkonen is still viewed as cowardice and as a traitor, for his assassination of the Patriarch of the Jihad, Iblis Ginjo. Vorian is the only one that knows the truth and tells Xavier's grandson, Abulurd Butler the true story. Abulurd takes on the name Harkkonen and starts a committe to reinstate the name.
With 2 enemies and the humans once again becoming lazy, you know the battles aren't over. Instead of giving away too much by only talking about fighting, let's talk about some of the many sub-plots throughout this book. In the Dune Universe, pretty much all the books there are lots of things going on that in order to catch them all sometimes it takes re-reading the book, and, trust me, that's where the fun lies in these books.
The space-folding is still dangerous and not fully acceptable to all as a legitimate means of space travel. Many ships have folded into stars, asteroids or other celestial bodies or have just plainly disappeared. Norma Cenva soon discovers that the Spice Melange holds the key to navigating the space-folders, by opening the human brain potential...but in the process the human doing the guiding loses their humanity...especially with their physical bodies.
The Sorceresses of Rossak are cateloging the bloodlines of humanity in order to keep the human genes "clean." But a mutated form of the virus has hit Rossak, threatening to destroy all they have worked for. Vorian Atreides' grand-daughter, Raquella Berto-Anirul, becomes miraculously healed of the scourge and during the process has visions and her mind alters to that of a sorceress, and she forms what will become the Bene-Gesserit in which the human bloodlines will be kept going.
We can't leave out the Fremen on the planet Arrakis (Dune). They become split and some want to start selling all the spice to offworlders while some still hold to the visions of Salim Wormrider, that the spice is the life of Arrakis. So the actual Fremen become more militant while some Zensunnis set up commerce with offworlders.
The robot Erasmus has trained Gilbertus Albans to use his brain as a machine would. In the process Erasmus has discovered what the love of a parent must feel. In the training of Gilbertus, Erasmus has created the first Mentat. What will later become the human computers.
Yes, all this in this final book in the series, but, it is such a great read that to become immersed in this universe it creates the urge for more. So, after reading the 3 Legends of Dune books, you have 3 Prequals to Dune, 6 Frank Herbert novels, then one more book, "Hunters of Dune," written by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, that takes place after the 6th Frank Herbert Novel, "Chapterhouse: Dune." Then if you get around to it, August 2007 will see the release of the final book in the Dune Universe by Herbert & Anderson, "Sandworms of Dune."
So the fun has just begun.