The last of Dune. Thoughts on "Chapterhouse" and the journey of reading Dune.
I started reading Dune mid-2016, and among the 50 or so books I read that year, Dune was the best one of them. A marvellous book, a fantastic story, a gorgeous and mind-blowing journey through its pages, characters and settings.
Frank Herbert truly created a work of art within the Dune pages. It was a story like no other I’ve ever read, not back then or now. Such a unique idea and execution. So unique in fact, that you feel lost for a big part of the book, trying to grasp what’s going on, and that’s one of its appeals. You want to find out more! And Herbert is constantly providing the reader with information, puzzle pieces that you feel the urge to fit into the bigger picture.
Who’s that? Where are they? Why are they doing that? What in the name of God is happening?
Questions arise from every page in Dune, and the answer to each question is embedded within the story as long as you’re paying enough attention. Some questions have clear answers, some need to be stitched together and some other questions have spawned decades of fan theories, trying to explain what Herbert left unexplained. There’s simply so much information in plain sight and so much more hidden within small-type that reading any of the Dune books is both challenging and extremely engaging.
The Dune saga as written by Frank Herbert consists of 6 books. Chapterhouse: Dune, is the end of this journey, and it truly saddens me. Herbert didn’t intend to leave the Dune universe unfinished, Chapterhouse is a middle book in another trilogy and as such it opens up more questions than it gets to answer. Such questions were going to be answered in the next book, which sadly Herbet never got to publish. A book that never came and never will. The mind behind Dunes seized to create new stories.
Frank Herbert’s son continued his father’s storyline, in fact, he wrote more Dune books than Frank himself, however, it’s hard to believe anyone could continue such a complex story-arch and universe other than the creator himself. I’ll read Brian Herbert’s books eventually. But that doesn’t erase the feeling of emptiness.
But this is becoming more of a rant about my love for Dune than a review about the book itself, so here it goes:
Bene Gesserit is amazing, we get to _know_ them, finally! 6 freaking books in and we finally get to understand, although not completely, the mysterious and powerful Bene Gesserit and their mighty Reverend Mothers.
The Sisterhood is the main character of Chapterhouse, everything moves around them and their likely extinction. The cease-of-existence of a unique conglomeration of powerful women ruled only by two things: the survival of The Sisterhood and the improvement of the human race leads to some pretty interesting outcomes and rash choices. These choices open up even more questions, but they also provide an insight into Bene Gesserit ways.
I really don’t want to spoil anything (maybe I did?) but this is a fantastic book and you should read it, after reading the other 5 Dune books, of course!. Some people don’t like it, maybe because there’s no 7th book to answer the questions raised in Chapterhouse, but… what do you do?
There are so many bits and pieces of wisdom in this book, as in most other Dune books. I don’t recall stopping to think about them so much apart from the Dune book itself and Messiah Of Dune, which are simply out of this world mind-boggling.
Morality laws or rules are overrated. Use your inner moral compass to guide you, it gives a good balance of flexibility and wisdom. Beware! Always choose the right thing, because there’s no other option, always judge everything.
Discipline gives freedom. Freedom leads us to be consumed by our desires. Nihilism.
And oh, so much more.
Sign. If only we had Gholas to bring you back, Herbert. If only.