Dune: The Machine Crusade
Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Copyright 2003 by Herbert Enterprises LLC
Dune: The Machine Crusade or DMT for short is a marvellous addition to the Dune series, and is well on its way to becoming a bestseller. The book is a breathtaking, but not surprising 699 pages (including the Appendix) and is a wonderful and well written book through and through.
This book is the second in the Legends of Dune trilogy which follows Dune: The Butlerian Jihad and precedes Dune: The Battle of Corrin, the latter of the two still forthcoming at this time. It seems that once again Brian Herbert has lived up to his father's reputation for excellence and thoroughness. The book continues where The Butlerian Jihad left of, with Princess Serena Butler's jihad against the thinking machines or artificial intelligence. The war is going both well, and at the same time very poorly. So as not to spoil the book for you, I won't tell you the entire plot, but I will give you some minor details.
Starting right away, Primero Xavier Harkonnen, and Primero Vorian Atreides are in the midst of defending the planet IV Anbus against the threat of machine genocide. Unfortunately for them both, the Zenshiites or seemingly Buddah/Allah worshiping natives do not welcome them, and actually attempt to stop them, believing that the machines will see that there is nothing that they wish for on the planet, and will leave. This is of course false, but despite Primero Harkonnen's best efforts to convince them to leave, they stay and sentence themselves to become martyrs. However, unlike the later books in the series, Primero Harkonnen does not become cruel and abandon them, but finds a solution that, while not exactly ideal, serves the purpose, though it does kill many Zenshiites. The machine army is stopped...temporarily anyway.
In the meantime, on a variety of different planets, as well as in the City of Introspection, Grand Patriarch Iblis Ginjo works his political magic with the many different planets and houses. Using his monumental charisma as well as his totalitarian police force, Iblis absorbs more and more of the public responsibility into the Jihad Council's domain, and quietly uses his Jihad police, or Jipol to rid himself of unwanted enemies and challenges. This seems quite evil and immoral but the writing conveys the sense that Iblis does what he does under the actual belief that he is saving the League Worlds against the ever-present and slowly creeping threat of Omnius and the thinking machine armies.
There is something to be said for this Iblis Ginjo. He is a political genius who employs his tactics calmly and with massive amounts of precision. One of the first times he appears in this book, illustrates just how politically "fluent" he is. This quote comes from a section where the Grand Patriarch is addressing the Hall of Parliament:
The Parliament's business had already been under way for hours, but nothing important would happen until he arrived. It had all been arranged. His quiet allies among the League Representatives would clog the governmental works with irrelevant bureaucrace, just to make him look more effective when he cut through all the dithering.
On the podium, the planetary representative from Hagal, Hosten Fru, droned on about minor commercial problem, a dispute between Venkee Enterprises, and the Poritrin government over patents and distribution rights for glowglobes, which had become increasingly popular.
"The Original concept is based on work done by an assistant to Savant Tio Holtzman, but Venkee Enterprises has marketed the technology without any sompensation to Poritrin," Hosent Fru Sad. "I suggest we assign a committee to look into the matter and give due consideration-"
Iblis smiled to himself. Yes, a commitee will ensure a complete lack of resolution on the issue. Hosten Fru was a seeminly incompetent politiciann who blocked League business with inane problems, making the cumbersome government appear as ineffectual as the passive Old Empire. No one knew that the Hagel representative was one of Iblis's secret allies. It served Iblis's purposes perfectly: the more people saw how incapable the League Assembly was of solving simple problems, especially during crises, the more decisions were relegated to the Jihad Council, which he controlled...
Beaming with confidence, Iblis Ginjo made his grand entrance. As the proxy for Serena Butler herself, he was the spokesman for humanity and it's Holy Jihad against the thinking machines..."
Iblis Ginjo is a master of political intrigue and he plays the people to their finest.
Comepletely unawares to all of the humans, on the Synchronized World of Corrin, the four remaning Titans, otherwise known as Cymeks, as well as a robot named Erasmus who was the catalyst for the Jihad, and the computer-evermind itself, Omnius, all hold a meeting to discuss plans. The four remaining titans, Agamemnon, Juno, Dante, and Xerxes, all human at one point who had their conciousness transferred over to mechanical bodies, discuss their hatred for humanity, or as they call them, the Hrethgir. The meeting reveals that not only is Vorian Atreides Agamemnon's son, but also that he has plans to assassinate him. On top of that, Omnius reveals that all the attacks on the unallied planets are merely part of an attempt to surround all of the League Planets. There is also much discussion surrounding what knowledge was lost to the machines when the Omnius-copy on Earth was destroyed, during the atomic annihalation. The meeting ends abruptly, and the cybermeks leave Omnius and Erasmus to discuss other matters.
And unbenkownst to all the afformentioned peoples, Selim Wormrider, leader of what is to become The Fremen, attacks and advances upon the civilizations across Arakkis, with arrogant men dying, and special women replacing them. Visions accompany his normal schedule, but he displays wisdom that will follow until the prophesized Paul Atreides, or Muad'Dib. The war of the Wormriders has begun.
Overall, this is an excellent book through and through. It is well written, and continues the Dune storyline superbly. It is currently available only in hardcover, and costs between $15.00 and $18.00 depending on where you get it. It is especially excellent in the fact that it can stand alone in the trilogy because of the amount of background information that is integrated into the storyline. And most of all, every chapter begin's not only with some eye-grabbing line, but also with a marvelous quote from one of the characters in the book. I would suggest this book to those both familiar, and just interested in the Herbert's Dune Series. To see a list of all of the Dune books, please look below.
All books in the Dune series: