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Heretics of Dune  By  cover art

Heretics of Dune

By: Frank Herbert
Narrated by: Simon Vance,Scott Brick
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Publisher's Summary

Heretics of Dune, the fifth installment in Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi series.

On Arrakis, now called Rakis, known to legend as Dune, 10 times 10 centuries have passed. The planet is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax struggle to direct the future of Dune. The children of Dune's children awaken as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love. 

©1984 Frank Herbert (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks for Fans of Dune


Ever since its publication in 1965, Frank Herbert's Dune has set the bar high for epic science fiction. In fact, Herbert's beloved novel is considered to be one the best sci-fi books of all time. Dune was the recipient of multiple awards, including the inaugural Nebula Award for best novel in 1966. And in October 2021, more than 50 years after the novel's initial release, fans of Dune are being treated to a film adaptation, directed by Denis Villeneuve.

What listeners say about Heretics of Dune

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Feelings

This series is addictive despite how disjointed the stories are as a whole. It is difficult to reign in the concept of thousands of years passing from one book to the next. Especially since with the exception of Duncan Idaho, there is not one character from the last book remaining and keeping track of who is who and how they fit into the overall plot, is a daunting task.

That said, this is not a stand alone story. The main issues posed by the storyline are not resolved and this is the first book in the series that ends in a way that is incomplete without the next book in the series. That was a bit disappointing.

It also needs to be said that there are graphic descriptions of a sexual nature that border on the pornographic. I am not a prude and was not disturbed by these descriptions but in retrospect, I don't see how these sequences advanced the storyline. They could have been done with a bit more finesse and I have no doubt that there are people who would be offended by them.

The subtle complexities of political maneuvers by the major characters provide the most intrigue of this book. Frank Herbert managed to hold my attention through the end despite the tedium of Miles Teg and Duncan Idaho spending 3/4 of the book trying to get off the planet Gammu. This reminded me of Indiana Jones trying to escape the mines in the claustrophobic "Temple of Doom."

Obviously, I have mixed feelings about the book but I enjoyed it overall and consider it a worthwhile read, if only to complete the series.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Herbert is a genius

This is my favorite book so far, it didn't seem slow to me at all. There's so much to these books, maybe they aren't full of hollywood style action, but the plotting and psychological action is intense, as with all the dune books (at least to me). Awesome stuff, and Simon Vance rocks.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Book

And a great reader. This was my least favorite of the Dune books when i read them and I listened to an audio version I got from the library a few years ago. But this reader drew me in to this story like never before and I caught more of it than i ever did before. I look forward to hear Chapterhouse.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Without great pain, it is impossible to transcend

A must read for any fan of the series, KEEP GOING, for only a true fremen would.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disapointing and disjointed

As nother reviewer has commented due to the time lapse between book 4 and 5 that the continuation of the story is difficult. I enjoyed the first four books as I was able to follow persons from the pervious books. With this book it seems that Duncan was tossed in for good measure. I never really understood why he was included in this book.

I found myself acutally wanting this book to end. The only reason I finished it was because of the investment I had made in the other four books I figured I should continue the series to its end.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

The opera continues

Operatic. That's the Dune series...lots of machinations over long periods of time, interrupted by brief spates of action. More happens in Heretics of Dune than in the last few books, but most of the activity occurs off-stage, as it were.

First off, this is the fifth in Frank Herbert's Dune series; they won't make much sense if you don't experience them in order.

It is 1500 years since the death of Leto II, the God Emperor (a/k/a the Tyrant), and the planet Arrakis/Dune is now called Rakis and is desert once more. The factions of the Duniverse (mostly the Bene Gesserit, the Tleilaxu, the priests of the God Emperor and the newly arrived Honoured Matres) are maneuvering for control of the all important spice. The balance is upset when a young girl who can commune with the worms arrives from the desert.

As is the case with all of Herbert's Dune books, Heretics is a slow-mover. The story is the characters and their machinations, rather than starship and laser battles. There are more "action" bits (i.e. the starships and lasers) than the previous few books, but they are mostly referred to after the fact and not narrated directly (which is irritating).

My opinions on this book are mixed. The story itself is interesting, but slow. The prose is great but the story feels disjointed in places.

I still like Simon Vance's narration.

14 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Marked Departure

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

CAUTION: For those of you who have not read/listened to the Dune series, do NOT start with this book.Though I was looking forward to the last book written by Herbert himself, the thread of continuity between the central themes seems to have been broken after God Emperor.

Any additional comments?

What I find most out of character is the overt gratuitous sexuality that reared its head toward the end of the book, and was nowhere to be found in any of Herbert's other works previously. It's almost as though someone took over for him at the end, or the publisher said: "Frank, we need some sex in here or it won't sell."

Yes, I'll listen to it again, but the core trajectory and central theme of Herbert's original story line seems to have gotten lost in the sauce somewhere.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Strong start; ridiculous, stupid ending

After 5-10 chapters, I had decided this was my favorite book in the Dune series. Wonderful characters and plot lines. The book continued to be very strong through the middle 1/3 before Herbert drove it off a cliff.

**SPOILER ALERT**

In the final 1/3 of the book, one of the main characters develops what is, essentially, a super power - an almost catastrophic broadside to the book’s integrity. Worse, descending further into farce and totally catastrophic, we learn that the villains enforce their political domination through violence and, wait for it, mind blowing sex. The sex is so mind blowing that one conjugal experience has you hooked forever - you can’t live without it and will do anything for the villains, who supply you with it.

Utterly stupid.

I believe Herbert died shortly after this book was published. I’d like to think he just didn’t have to write a non-ridiculous ending.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written but slow

I'm torn about my final thoughts on this book. Herbert is a sublime writer first of all. After a spate of rather thin books, I was really excited to get into Heretics after my first few chapters. However this book ended up being SLOW. Not much happens for the majority of this novel and you spend an inordinate amount of time with the inner thoughts of certain Bene Gesserit characters. Apparently all Bene Gesserit characters think about is how their mystical training has made them particularly awesome humans and how they're going to double and triple cross everyone they see.

The last 2 hours of this book finally reach the point where all these double crosses have been leading . Unfortunately there are several clashes/battles/incredible happenings that you are eager to experience and all of a sudden Herbert jumps to a new chapter which glosses over the whole event. SPOILER FREE: Character A is about to mount an incredible ground battle against Faction B while Characters B & C are desperately trying to get Item C into a starship so they can escape the planet and save Humanity..... and the next chapter suddenly starts with said characters several weeks in the future getting on with their lives. It was a little bit of a letdown - I've waded through hours of internalized political maneuvering, thoughts, fears, and trechery.... let's see some lazer beams for a just a couple pages :)

The narrator does a very good job and his voices aren't too over the top. But I think he could have picked up the pace 20% and it would have helped keep the book moving. There were literally moments during my commute where my attention had wandered for several minutes and I just turned it off and switched to FM (gasp!)

So in the end I cannot recommend this book as an audiobook. I think it would have read better.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

…..Variations on a Theme.....

Here many of the political and religious plot lines begin to converge. Set thousands of years after the time of Paul; this novel exemplifies one of the problems of a wide scope Space Opera that extends over such vast time scales: The writer has to introduce a new set of characters for every installment. Frank Herbert strives to overcome this problem in his series by always having an Atreides in a key role. He always has a Bene Gesserit trying to pull the strings behind the scenes. And, of course, the recurring figure of Duncan Idaho again makes an appearance in one of his many clones. This novel has some interesting personalities placed in these standard roles and for this reason holds my interest better than the other sequels so far. At the end of the day, it is still a far cry from the drama of the original. By the end I was longing for a conniving villain like baron Harkonnen to add a little drama.

Simon Vance again reads the text. His delivery is uncomfortably dispassionate and leads to the depiction of strangely uncomfortable antiseptic coitus in more than one scene. This book gives me a chance to editorialize: There is something commendable in translating a book from the print to the audio format with as little deviation from the mood of the original. I would say that there is a higher commendation deserved in taking a stolid, phlegmatic novel and imparting some sense of drama to it that would make it a more entertaining listening experience.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Aa Kondeatis
  • 05-12-15

Disappointed that so little actually happened...

... then it ended.......... ...17 words left ... must keep writing.. or it will not left me submit a review dot dot dot

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 03-31-15

Slow and pointless

Read the last two chapters and skip the rest as almost nothing happened.

This one was really terrible compared to the others in this series which is such a shame as I'm a huge dune fan. Only one more to go now (chapter house) and I hope it's not a dull as this was.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Mdk
  • 03-05-19

Not very good

It was all over the place - seems to just cobble bits together to make a book.
Desperate to keep the story going. The endless revamp of individuals has be come meaningless

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andras Kovacs
  • 04-09-21

The complete Saga review

In short
(the first trilogy)
Book 1: Excellent
Book 2: Great
Book 3: Good

(the second trilogy)
Book 4: Boring rumbling
Book 5: Good
Book 6: Mediocre (with the main theme that the strongest weapon in the GALAXY is between the woman leg... No joke)

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 02-19-12

Another great read

I have all the books in this series and have had them for many years, if your in to sci-fi then you can't go wrong.
I must have read this book 10 or more times over the years and never get board of it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 11-12-22

Continues to astound

The performance like all others in the series is sublime. The control of pace; accent and delivery is a masterclass, particularly stretched in this enthralling story.
The tale itself is shocking in its scope and relevance to society today. The grasp of civilisational politics and the many strands within is nothing short of a masterpiece. I have shared across pieces to a professor acquaintance who is nowing using extracts as course materials within his international politics tutorials to inspire debates within the student bodies
Amazing; simply amazing

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-07-22

Simon Vance's ministry of silly voices

Narrator Simon Vance really upped the ante in terms of generic pseudo-ethnic accents compared to the previous four Dune audiobooks. Maybe the size of the cast stretched his range. Maybe Herbert's meandering narrative meant I was less immersed in events. All I know is one female character sounded like Harry Enfield's Stavros.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Lee
  • 03-06-22

Fantastic!!

I absolutely love this chapter in the Dune universe. I found myself completely enthralled, and unable to stop listening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-22

Brilliant

such a brilliant story and a brilliant performance. I struggled to put it down!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erin
  • 02-07-22

Good gripping read, dated in some places

I really enjoyed this book - I never mind what others sometimes call the rambling philosophy and politics, I think they are part of what makes the Dune series great. Slow to start then lots of action. I did not like some of the language and emphasis on the erotic powers at play, for me that theme detracted from a great book with a facile, immature gratuitousness. Other than that, loved it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • patrick
  • 04-05-16

Solid Dune book

Real heavy sci-fi but if you've made it this far you know what to expect, much stronger than the last book and maybe even better than book 3, worth a listen if you are a fan.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-22

A great continuation to an epic story!

Frank Herbert's 5th book in his Dune series continues taking his epic story in new directions. The first time I had read this book, I hinted at where he was taking the story, some of which happened in Chapter House Dune, however we will never know what true ending he had envisioned for his much beloved epic. While the story did get finished by his son and another writer that feels more like fan fiction that what Frank Herbert would have created. I try to think of this now as the penultimate book in the series.
The narration, is A1 and he conveys the many different characters in distinct and easily recognisable voices. Truly a talented voice actor.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves the Dune series.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-22

still awesome

was worried at first with the introduction of a lot of changes but I quickly was hooked again. still absolutely love this series

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-22

35 years to complete.

I started reading this in the mid eighties.... after an attempt at God Emperor. Finally finished it via Audible...aged 51!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-15-22

Brilliant - again

Can't stop to write - another volume to start.
Get typing Brian, more please... please 😊🤞

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-22

Great read.

The character development and the complexity of the story. So many threads are developing simultaneously.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ahmet
  • 11-30-21

A Masterful Revival

The story of Dune never tapers out, but there are times its luster diminishes to an extend below the general mean of the saga. That might have been the cass with the previous two books, some argue, though honestly I believe not. Whether you hold the notion that the saga was losing speed or not, Heretics of Dune brings a masterful revival to the story. Enjoy with abandon!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-14-21

Great listen

One of the best novels in the Dune series I reckon. Loved it and worth the listen

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-14-21

Addictive

Amazing story, the back quarter could have been further fleshed out but it was simply great.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-27-20

Good

Another installment in the Dune series. More political intrigue, an more large scale action (building on Chapterhouse: Dune). We also have much more discussion of political philosophy, governance and administration. And I think they’re the points the book lost me on. It felt like Atlas Shrugged all over again, albeit with a lower page count and less free market "Bible" bashing.

Individual narrators are good, but I’d prefer if it was just one narrator.

Not a bad book, but it didn’t leave me wanting to read more.