“House Corrino” is the third and final book in the “Prelude to Dune” trilogy, otherwise known as the “House” trilogy. To understand this story, it is necessary to have first read “House Atreides” and “House Harkonnen” because the plot lines that started in the first book build to a climax in “House Corrino”.
By the time that we get to this novel the former rulers of Ix, House Vernius, had long since been deposed with the last scion of the ruling family living under the protection of his friend, Duke Leto Atreides. Leto and Rhombur (the last of the Vernius family) are working together to finally reclaim Ix from the Tlielaxu and return Rhombur to power. Leto’s mistress, the Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica is pregnant with his child. Leto wants a son, but the Bene Gesserit need a daughter from Jessica and Leto for their breeding program which is only one generation away from completion.
Meanwhile, Shaddam IV, the Emperor of a Million worlds is seeking an alternative to the Spice that runs the Imperium. Spice is native only to the planet Arrakis and Shaddam wants an artificial source of Spice that he controls. Shaddam is playing both sides of the game, working to control Arrakis through the planet’s overlord Vladimir Harkonnen as well as trying acquire a synthetic spice from the Tlielaxu on Ix.
If this sounds complicated, the reason is simple: it is complicated. Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson are weaving multiple storylines together to build a whole that is far grander than any of the parts. Brian is the son of the creator of the original 6 book Dune series and he has taken on an ambitious project: to write a prequel series that can complement the original books, expand the universe that Frank Herbert crated, and stand on its own merits. While different in style and theme than Frank’s work, the “Prelude to Dune” novels are fully a part of the greater “Dune” universe and are worthy additions to the series.
What makes the challenge of writing these novels even tougher is that as a prequel trilogy with characters that we will meet in Frank Herbert’s classic (in every sense of the word) novel “Dune”, the authors have to create a story that fits within the continuity of “Dune” yet is compelling enough of a story to stand alone. Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson are to be commended for their success. This trilogy fits both requirement and has surely led more readers to discover Frank Herbert’s “Dune”.