Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles #6) ★★★★☆

chapterhousedune (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Chapterhouse: Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #6
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 452
Format: Digital Edition



The Honored Matres are wiping out Bene Gesserit worlds while on their search for Chapterhouse, the nerve center of Bene Gesserit’ness.

Duncan Idaho and Murbella are on Chapterhouse and Murbella is being trained as a BG Sister to see if Honored Matres CAN make that transition. Duncan is just doing his thing and staying in the no-ship so nobody can find him. He becomes the Teg ghola’s weapon master [as he has visions of face dancers and somehow steals info about super advanced weapons from their minds] and in the end takes off in the no-ship with Sheena, Scytale and others.

Scytale continues his bargaining with the Sisterhood but is pretty much stymied.

Darwi Odrade is now Mother Superior and has plans to tame the Honored Matres by melding them with the BG. But to do this she must kill the High Honored Matre and convince the rest of the BG to accept Murbella as a synthesis of the two sisterhoods. She succeeds and dies and Murbella is confirmed as leader of both groups.

It is revealed that the Honored Matres have been fleeing something even more powerful than them and it is now up to Murbella to guide humanity to survival against whatever this “other” threat is while combining the best of the Bene Gesserit with the best of the Honored Matres.

And some Jews. I don’t even know why Herbert put them in, but they are shoehorned into this story like nobody’s business.


My Thoughts:

This really felt like 2 books. One of those books I liked, the other I thought was a steaming pile of poo poo. And I mean really stinky poo poo.

One book was about sexual obsession (by the author) and child rape and pages and pages of philosophical gobbledy gook that was batted back and forth by cardboard characters like a badminton birdie.

The other book was filled with planets being wiped out by super weapons and the discovery of eternal life through ghola memory being awakened and threats so large that they might be the end of all humanity all across the universe.

I enjoyed the first 10% of this book, then went out of my mind for the next 45% and finally enjoyed the last bit, thankfully. All of that is just to show that I don’t hold it against anyone who hates this book, doesn’t like it or just think it stinks (like really really really stinky poo). But being the man I am, I was able to go beyond Frank’s weaknesses and still enjoy the strengths this book has to offer.

But I had the mantra “why Frank, why?!?” running through my head the entire time. He has huge awesome plot material and tons of cool action stuff and he focuses on conversations about power and sex and religion? For phracks sake man, let it go and just tell a great story like you did with Dune. I think that is what each book after Dune lost out on, telling a good story. Each sequel became the vehicle with which Herbert drove us around his little personal psychology museum and bored us to tears with his ramblings.

One thing about this re-read that I enjoyed, or at least noticed without feeling like I needed to pass judgement, were terms and conditions that ended up being used in the Dune 7 duology by Baby Herbert and KJ Anderson. Noticing those things made me a little more forgiving of them and made me wonder if perhaps they weren’t the total wankers I think them to be. Yeah, that’ll last until I start reading the Dune 7 duology. Don’t worry, there will be no good feelings of comraderie and brotherly love then. Nothing but cold scorn and derision for ruining such an epic as the Dune Chronicles.

So why the 4stars? I’m beginning to wonder myself!

  1. The Action. When it happened, it happened fast and furious and there was NO messing about. Death and carnage and billions snuffed out in a heart beat.
  2. The Ideas. Once you got past Herbert’s obsession with power and the really weird ways he expressed that obsession, some of the points on humanity and how humanity acts and interacts were quite intriguing. I suspect they’re not very original, but in SF, it really works.
  3. The Direction. This series had moved beyond the Atreides family directly and towards the Gene Gesserit as a whole being a shepherd to humanity. Humanity had gotten larger and so the need for some guidance had gotten larger. Where this was leading was great.

Of course, it ends on a cliffhanger with Duncan and the No-ship in unknown space just hanging out. Like, duuude, where’s my spaceship? If you read my initial review from ’12 you’ll see how I reacted to that. This time around, knowing I had the completed story, no matter from who, that made a difference.




38 thoughts on “Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles #6) ★★★★☆

  1. Oh drat, I wish I’d missed this post ….. it reminds me that I’ve made a promise to myself to read Dune, the first book …. for the last two years and haven’t done it yet. I’ve heard that it’s fantastic!

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts but I do ask, why 4 stars? You don’t have to answer though. In spite of your excellent review, I don’t think I’ll be reading it. I believe I should read the first book and stop there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dune is definitely the best of the bunch. It’s probably the least traditional “Frank Herbert” book that he wrote.

      As for the 4stars, I thought I covered that with the 3numbered points. Did that not come across?


  2. I’m impressed you managed to stay with the series so long… I think I stopped on Heretics and couldn’t take any more 😉 “Dune” was really great, but the subsequent books never reached this level and I soon strayed away to greener pastures 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I might get back to Herbert one day and read all his Dune books, and I think I have a chance of liking them more than before. But my memories of the later books in the series are mostly of lengthy political and philosophical discussions interspersed with moments of fast and brutal action, and the ratio wasn’t exactly to my liking 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I love the first book (one of my all-time favourites!), I accept second and third as parts of a well thought-through trilogy, but I’ve never felt a need to go further… I was fully satisfied as a reader and afraid it would (as many people claim) only get worse…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep, if you’re happy with how the trilogy wraps up, leave it there. If you want to wade through Herbert’s mind though, you definitely have to finish the series.
            But it definitely isn’t for everybody. Only people like me 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’ve always treated Timothy O’Reilly’s “Frank Herbert” as my key to the mind of Herbert and his goals in writing the first three books, but only just now I’ve noticed that he had to see it as a trilogy – nothing more had been published when he wrote it 😉 Very interesting essay on Herbert anyway, out of print but available officially online.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve only read the first book and it was so long ago that I can barely remember it. If I was ever going to tackle more from the series I would need a reread – which unfortunately rarely happens these days.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think recently because I set myself too many reading challenges and probably (definitely) request too many review books. Then on top of that blogging has increased my TBR massively because I’m always seeing books that I want. I don’t know how many books I bought last year but I need to start making room to read them. So, basically, retreads feel a long way off at the moment. I need to get my book longing under control.
        Lynn 😄

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ahhh, so more of a time/commitment thing than because you have a deep seated hatred of re-reading. I am glad to hear that, because time and other books can be managed. Deep hatred takes years of therapy on the other hand 😉


          1. No. I don’t have a deep hatred of retread 😄 in face I’ve read a few books more than once. But, I tend to find that my reread days were in a life where I didn’t realise just how many books were out there. That being said I’m usually happy to reread and have done so not that long ago when taking part in readalongs I was in fact going to join in with a reread/readalong of Dune as part of vintage Sci Fi month but realised I’d probably not have enough time with other commitments. I still think I might need therapy simply for my obsession with book buying.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. hahaha oh gosh your opening to this review! Jeez this dealt with some really dark stuff! Honestly, I don’t feel remotely sorry that I’m not reading any more of Dune now! And yeah I can see why you gave it a higher rating- I’ve definitely had books where I’ve hated half of it, but the latter half really redeemed itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have no qualms confessing that this is my DNF book in the Dune series: despite several attempts I never managed to reach the end, and exactly for the main reasons you mention – there is the potential for a HUGE story to be told here, as big as was the theme for the first Dune book, and the author kept wandering away on some obscure path that at times made no sense at all…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hurray, you’re back commenting! Wasn’t sure if you were completely overwhelmed in real life and if you were really coming back.

      Uh, while I like the whole Dune Chronicles, Dune itself is the best. The rest are personal reflections by Herbert on various theological, political and psychological thoughts, etc. A pound of philosophy spread on a very small biscuit of action. Dune was a pound of biscuit with a pat of butter.

      Not sure that will help you. You’ll probably have to try for yourself. But I really like these books even with their flaws…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really wanted to enjoy this book. Heck, I wanted to enjoy the series. I absolutely loved the first book and I hated how the series just went downhill from there. I kinda wish Herbert had left Dune as a standalone novel. But that’s just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “One book was about sexual obsession (by the author) and child rape and pages and pages of philosophical gobbledy gook that was batted back and forth by cardboard characters like a badminton birdie.”

    What the hell… That honestly sounds out of place hahah It’s even more surprising to see such a positive rating after reading that little segment. At least it’s reassuring. That’s for sure.

    Almost at the end of the whole Dune Chronicles! Are you going to venture into the other “series” within the universe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was the last book penned by Frank Herbert. So it is the last of the Dune Chronicles.
      That being said, I do plan on reading the Dune7 duology by Herbert and Anderson even though I”m not looking forward to it. Reading it so soon after this book, with such descriptions as you quoted fresh in my mind, I am hoping I can give them a little slack. We’ll see though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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