Villordsutch reviews Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson…
Mentats of Dune is the second book in the Schools of Dune Trilogy following on from the events of Sisterhood of Dune (Book 1). For those versed in both Frank Herbert’s Duniverse you will be more than aware of the Bene Gesserit, Mentats, Suk Doctors & Navigators; those not versed in the aforementioned – you’re missing so, so much.
I’ve read a number of Brian & Kevin’s Dune books and in the past I haven’t been overly impressed. I’ve found a number of their books suffer with parts of stories being dragged out and clunky writing that’s not enjoyable to read. However I was very surprised with Mentats of Dune as this was a very accessible and enjoyable book. Brian and Kevin have placed just the right amount of pieces on the board for you and you’re able to keep track of these, as the various threads weave throughout the story.
It’s fantastic to see the genesis of such powerful movements flail around in the wind as they struggle to actually gain any power or motion. Take the Bene Gesserit (yet to receive this name) who are already split into two opposing factions since the last book; or the VenHold (Soon to be Spacing Guild) who are constantly being belittled and disrupted by the violent movement of the galaxy spanning Antitechnolgists (The Butlerian Jihadists). Whilst the big players move at the same time the little pieces in the form Vor Atreides seeks to repair the past by surreptitiously helping the Harkonnens, who are days away from being reduced to nothing; at the same time Vor is unaware the Harkonnen sisters are planning to destroy the Atreides bloodline from the Galaxy.
At the centre of this book however we revolve around the Mentat School and it’s Headmaster Gilbertus Albans, who is the adopted son of the sadistic robot Erasmus. Gilbertus adores his school and his pupils so much so he is willing to allow his principles to be bent for the use and pleasure of the leader of the Butlerian Jihad, Manford Torondo, who is unaware of Gilbertus’ past. To make matters worse in the school, Gilbertus rather dangerously hides and communicates with the core of his robot father Erasmus; the Mentat School is also built on the Planet Lampadas, the home of Manford Torondo and millions of Butlerian Fanatics. We see even in moments where his life is placed upon the line, he (Gilbertus) defends his students and school against thousands of zealots.
As a Dune fan I very much enjoyed this book. Yes some moments were wrapped up rather quickly and chapters come thick and fast but this is an excellent addition to build upon the foundations of Dune. As well as that, it’s an enjoyable piece of science fiction and I cannot wait to read book three in the Schools of Dune Trilogy.
Here’s an except from the Mentats of Dune audiobook…
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.