The Winds of Dune
by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Much as Paul of Dune set out to fill the gap between the events of Dune and Dune Messiah, so too does The Winds of Dune seek to fill the gaps between that latter volume and Children of Dune, the third book in the original Dune series. Did you get all that? If not, please consult your scorecard.
It's a volume that might just as easily have been called Bronso of Ix, although that probably wouldn't have done much for sales. I don't recall much, if anything, being said about Bronso in the original Frank Herbert books. But in several of the sequels and prequels he is included as Paul Atreide's childhood friend, though they later become estranged. Bronso spends much of this book spreading propaganda aimed at taking the increasingly messianic and tyrannical new emperor down a few notches.
While Paul makes a very brief appearance here, much of the novel plays out in that period after he's disappeared into the desert at the end of Dune Messiah but before the events of Frank Herbert's next book start. There are also flashbacks to some childhood events that are focused mostly on the Bronso/Paul relationship.
One of the more fascinating characters in the Dune world, at least for my money, was Alia, Paul's younger sister, who is born with all of the abilities of a full-blown Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother. Unfortunately, in Herbert's Children of Dune, as well as here, she was painted a little too neatly as a maniacal villain type. Which I found a waste of potential, given the directions such an interesting character might have taken.
As with the previous two Dune sequel/prequels that I reviewed here, The Winds of Dune was entertaining enough but hardly knocked me out of my seat. If you can't get enough Dune you'll probably like it well enough, but if you haven't read the original books in the series yet I'd recommend focusing your efforts there.