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Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
Dune: The Machine Crusade
Dune: The Battle of Corrin

Legends of Dune is a prequel trilogy of novels written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, set in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.

  • Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
  • Dune: The Machine Crusade (2003)
  • Dune: The Battle of Corrin (2004)

This trilogy takes place over 10,000 years before the events of the 1965 novel Dune, and chronicles the universe-spanning war against thinking machines that would eventually become known as the Butlerian Jihad.[1] It also explores the origins of the families and organizations that populate this distinctive universe in other Dune works.



The series explains that mankind had become entirely complacent and dependent upon thinking machines; recognizing this weakness, a group of ambitious, militant humans calling themselves the Titans use this widespread reliance on machine intelligence to seize control of the entire universe. The Titans soon make the transition into cyborgs called cymeks; through the use of specialized interfaces, their brains are installed inside giant, mobile, mechanized "bodies." These fearsome, weaponized bodies make the Titans virtually immortal — and unstoppable.[1] They later convert a number of subservient humans into an army of "neo-cymeks" to enforce their rule over the universe, and this so-called "Time of Titans" lasts for a century.[2]

Eventually the Titan Xerxes lazily grants too much access and power to the AI program Omnius, which usurps control from the Titans themselves.[1] Seeing no value in human life, the thinking machines – now including armies of robot soldiers and other aggressive machines, with the Titans as their commanders – dominate and enslave nearly all of humanity in the universe for 900 years, until a jihad is ignited by the independent robot Erasmus's murder of Manion Butler, the young son of Serena Butler.[1] This crusade against the machines lasts for nearly a century, with much loss of human life, ending in human victory at the Battle of Corrin. The Jihad also gives rise to the Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, the Sardaukar army, the Landsraad, and even House Corrino, whose Padishah Emperors rule the universe for the next 10,000 years, until the events of Dune and the ascension of Paul Atreides.[2]

The universe at the time of Legends of Dune consists of essentially three groups of populated planets: League Worlds, Synchronized Worlds and Unallied Planets.


League worlds

The League of Nobles is the system of government employed by the remaining free humans. The predecessor of the Landsraad and the Imperium, the League is feudal at its core but slightly more democratic than the Landsraad, as the League members vote for which Viceroy they prefer to govern them. The planets controlled and protected by the League are:


Synchronized Worlds

The planets completely under Machine control are known as the Synchronized Worlds. They are each ruled by a copy of Machine leader Omnius, and these copies are periodically updated by the collective network of Everminds with which they also share their own information. The former human inhabitants of these worlds have been enslaved or killed.


When the Great Purge is initiated in Dune: The Battle of Corrin, it is mentioned that at that point there are 543 Synchronized Worlds:

Quentin considered, mentally doing the math. "We know from captured update ships that there are five hundred forty-three Synchronized Worlds. We will need to send a large enough battle group to every single one of those planets in order to insure victory there. Just because they have moved their heavy ships to Corrin doesn't mean they won't put up a fight." [3]

Unallied planets


Other planets

Other planets are mentioned in the Legends of Dune series, but their exact status is not specified. For example:


One theme of the series is the fragile nature of history; the events from the first two books are later altered by the passage of time, both intentionally and unintentionally. One of the epigraphs in the book refers to Mao Zedong as a 'Philosopher of Old Earth'. Xavier Harkonnen begins as a legitimately idolized hero, and eventually becomes unjustifiably demonized as a villain. One of the protagonists, Vorian Atreides, remarks at one point, "Don't quote history books to me. You have no right: you weren't there. I was."

In addition, a state-sanctioned religion builds up around the 'Three Martyrs': Serena Butler, Iblis Ginjo, and Manion Butler. They form a mother-father-child trinity, which has become accepted as actual religious truth by the time of the events depicted in Dune. One of the more philosophical characters in the series points out that, throughout human history, leaders have harnessed the collective madness of holy war for their own purposes. The power of religion, and its manipulation, is itself a major theme in Frank Herbert's original Dune series.

One of the few characters to survive the entire series is Vorian Atreides. Shocked by the things he has seen and done over the course of the war, he decides that he deserves an indefinite holiday. Using the ship he began the series in, the Dream Voyager, he sets off through the stars. That is one final theme of the series: those who try to leave a mark on history succeed as often as they fail.


  1. ^ a b c d MacDonald, Rod (January 6, 2009). "Review: Dune: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson". Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (2002-2004). Legends of Dune. 
  3. ^ Herbert, Brian and Anderson, Kevin J. Dune: The Battle of Corrin


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