Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert& Kevin J. Anderson (2008)

Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert& Kevin J. Anderson (2008)
Read by Scott Brick
Published by Macmillan Audio
Running time 18.5 hours
Published 2008

In the world of science-fiction, one of the best series of books to come down the pike is the Dune series created by Frank Herbert. After Frank Herbert's death, his son, Brian Herbert, teamed up with sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson and pretty much wrapped up the series by providing 6 prequel and 2 sequel books. The prequels offered some backstory to events and ideas only barely mentioned by Frank Herbert in the original series. The sequels ended the series that had a huge cliff-hanger which Frank Herbert left when he passed away. So with all of that taken care of, one has to ask, what more is there in the Dune Universe? (Or the Duneverse)

Actually, there is the potential for lots more. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, with the backing of the Herbert estate, are just the folks to provide more stories in the Duneverse. Paul of Dune is one of three novels (at least only three planned so far) filling in some gaps and providing the fans of Dune with some more stories to devour. After all, "The spice must flow."

This audiobook is read by Scott Brick. I will have to say that Brick is one of my favorite voices for audiobooks. I first heard him when I was listening to the audiobook "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote. He expressed such great emotion in that book. Then later, when I was making it my mission to read or listen to every book in the Dune series, I heard his voice again in the prequels. I was glad to hear he was voicing this one as well. Brick can express emotion and characterization with such subtlety that, while you are still getting the same reader, your ears are treated to a near dramatization.

His voice-work really shapes a character. In the book "Dune," Count Hasimir Fenring was Emperor Shaddam's right hand man. Frank Herbert had written in quite a few strange speech patterns, like lots of nasal sounds, and would create sentences similar to: "mmmmwah, I think we can destroy House Atreides, mmmmmm." While this could have presented challenges for some narrators, Brick works these into his reading to sound like the character does not have a speech problem but is thinking as he's speaking. This approach makes these moments ring with clarity and portrays a new dimension of the not-so-good Count’s personality, who plays a vital role in Paul of Dune.

All the books in the Dune series feature plans within plans, conspiracies within conspiracies and plots within plots. As a result, many scenes include both the speech and thoughts of various characters. Brick reads these sections without flaw so the listener is not confused as to what is said aloud or thoughts the character shares with no one.

Paul of Dune takes place essentially between the time of the original novel Dune and the second book Dune Messiah" Paul Maud'Dib is in control of the planet Arrakis, Dune, and is the emperor of the known universe. The former Padisha Emperor Shaddam Corrino, IV, has been exiled to the planet Salusas Secundus, the training planet for his Sardaukar army which were defeated by Maud'Dib and have since joined the jihad of Maud'Dib.

This book tells more of what happened during the jihad and of the assassination attempts on the Emperor Paul Maud'Dib. Another interesting aspect of this book is that it also covers the time before Paul Atreides (soon to be the Maud'Dib) came to the spice planet, Arrakis, Dune. In flashback sequences Paul is making sure that Princess Irulan is telling the actual story of his life and the reader is transported to the War of Assassins which occurred when Paul was only 12. In the Dune timeline this would be between the prequel book "House Corrino" and the original book, "Dune." It feels as though you are getting two novels in one, but both stories meld into a single idea and fantastic climactic end.

Listen to the audio review below.

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