Chapterhouse: Dune

Chapterhouse: Dune
Chapterhouse: Dune  
First edition cover
US 1st edition cover
Author(s) Frank Herbert
Cover artist Bruce Pennington
Country United States
Language English
Series Dune series
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date April 1985
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 464 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-399-13027-6 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC Number 11133684
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 19
LC Classification PS3558.E63 C48 1985
Preceded by Heretics of Dune
Followed by Hunters of Dune

Chapterhouse: Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, last in his series of six Dune novels. Published in 1985, it is also known variously as Chapterhouse Dune, Chapter House Dune, and Chapter House: Dune, and rose to #2 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[1]

The novel chronicles the continued struggles of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood against the violent Honored Matres, who are succeeding in their bid to seize control of the universe and destroy the factions and planets that oppose them.

Chapterhouse Dune ends with a cliffhanger, and Herbert's subsequent death in 1986 left some overarching plotlines of the series unresolved.[2][3] Two decades later, Herbert's son Brian Herbert, along with Kevin J. Anderson, published two sequelsHunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007) – based on notes left behind by Frank Herbert for what he referred to as Dune 7, his own planned seventh novel in the Dune series.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


Plot introduction

The Bene Gesserit still find themselves questioning the Golden Path of humanity set by the God Emperor Leto II. Now they must survive the Honored Matres, whose reckless conquest of the Old Empire threatens Bene Gesserit survival. The Sisters must reassess their timeless methods: does ultimate survival go beyond calculated manipulation? Is there greater purpose to life than consolidating power?

Plot summary

The situation is desperate for the Bene Gesserit as they find themselves the targets of the Honored Matres, whose conquest of the Old Empire is almost complete. The Matres are seeking to assimilate the technology and developed methods of the Bene Gesserit and exterminate the Sisterhood itself. Now in command of the Bene Gesserit, Mother Superior Darwi Odrade continues to develop her drastic, secret plan to overcome the Honored Matres. The Bene Gesserit are also terraforming the planet Chapterhouse to accommodate the all-important sandworms, whose native planet Dune had been destroyed by the Matres. Sheeana, in charge of the project, expects sandworms to appear soon. The Honored Matres have also destroyed the entire Bene Tleilax civilization, with Tleilaxu Master Scytale the only one of his kind left alive. In Bene Gesserit captivity, Scytale possesses the Tleilaxu secret of ghola production, which he has reluctantly traded for the Sisterhood's protection. The first ghola produced is that of their recently-deceased military genius, Miles Teg. The Bene Gesserit have two other prisoners on Chapterhouse: the latest Duncan Idaho ghola, and former Honored Matre Murbella, whom they have accepted as a novice despite their suspicion that she intends to escape back to the Honored Matres.

Lampadas, a center for Bene Gesserit education, has been destroyed by the Honored Matres. The planet's Chancellor, Reverend Mother Lucilla, manages to escape carrying the shared-minds of millions of Reverend Mothers. Lucilla is forced to land on Gammu where she seeks refuge with an underground group of Jews. The Rabbi gives Lucilla sanctuary, but to save his organization he must deliver her to the Matres. Before doing so, he reveals Rebecca, a "wild" Reverend Mother who has gained her Other Memory without Bene Gesserit training. Lucilla shares minds with Rebecca, who promises to take the memories of Lampadas safely back to the Sisterhood. Lucilla is then "betrayed", and taken before the Great Honored Matre Dama, who tries to persuade her to join the Honored Matres, preserving her life in exchange for Bene Gesserit secrets. Lucilla refuses, and Dama ultimately kills her.

Back on Chapterhouse, Odrade confronts Duncan and forces him to admit that he is a Mentat, proving that he retains the memories of his many ghola lives. He does not reveal his mysterious visions of two people. Meanwhile, Murbella collapses under the pressure of Bene Gesserit training, giving in to "word weapons" that the Bene Gesserit had planted to undermine her earlier Honored Matre identity. Murbella realizes that she wants to be Bene Gesserit. Odrade believes that the Bene Gesserit made a mistake in fearing emotion, and that in order to evolve, the Bene Gesserit must learn to accept emotions. Odrade permits Duncan to watch Murbella undergo the spice agony, making him the first man ever to do so. Murbella survives the ordeal and becomes a Reverend Mother.

Odrade then confronts Sheeana, discovering that Duncan and Sheeana have been allied together for some time. Sheeana does not reveal that they have been considering the option of reawakening Teg's memory through Imprinting, nor does Odrade discover that Sheeana has the keys to Duncan's no-ship prison. Odrade continues molding Scytale, with Sheeana showing him a baby sandworm, the Bene Gesserit's own long term supply of spice, and destroying Scytale's main bargaining card. Finally, Teg is awakened by Sheeana using imprinting techniques. Odrade appoints him again as Bashar of the military forces of the Sisterhood for the assault on the Honored Matres.

Odrade next calls a meeting of all the Bene Gesserit, announcing her plan to attack the Honored Matres. She tells them that this attack will be led by Teg. She also announces candidates to succeed her as Mother Superior; she will share her memories with Murbella and Sheeana before she leaves. Odrade then goes to meet the Great Honored Matre. Under cover of Odrade's diplomacy, the Bene Gesserit forces under Teg attack Gammu with tremendous force. Teg uses his secret ability to see no-ships to secure control of the system. Survivors of the attack flee to Junction, and Teg follows them there and carries all with him. Victory for the Bene Gesserit seems inevitable. In the midst of this battle, the Jews (including Rebecca with her precious memories) take refuge with the Bene Gesserit fleet.

Logno — chief advisor to Dama — assassinates Dama with poison and assumes control of the Honored Matres. Her first act surprises Odrade greatly. Too late Odrade and Teg realize they have fallen into a trap, and the Honored Matres use a mysterious weapon to turn defeat into victory, as well as capturing Odrade. Murbella saves as much of the Bene Gesserit force as she can and they begin to withdraw to Chapterhouse. Odrade, however, had planned for the possible failure of the Bene Gesserit attack and left Murbella instructions for a last desperate gamble. Murbella pilots a small craft down to the surface, announcing herself as an Honored Matre who, in the confusion, has managed to escape the Bene Gesserit with all their secrets. She arrives on the planet and is taken to the Great Honored Matre. Unable to control her anger, Logno attacks but is killed by Murbella. Awed by her physical prowess, the remaining Honored Matres are forced to accept her as their new leader. Odrade is also killed in the melee and Murbella shares memories with her, thereby also becoming Reverend Mother Superior.

Murbella's ascension to leadership is not accepted as victory by all the Bene Gesserit. Some flee Chapterhouse, notably Sheeana, who has a vision of her own, and is joined by Duncan. The two escape in the giant no-ship, with Scytale, Teg and the Jews. Murbella recognizes their plan at the last minute, but is powerless to stop them. Watching this escape with interest are Daniel and Marty, the observers Duncan had been having visions of. The story ends on a cliffhanger with several questions left unanswered regarding the merging of the Honored Matres and Bene Gesserit, the fates of those on the escaped no-ship (including the role of Scytale, the development of Idaho and Teg, and the role of the Jews), the identity of the god-like characters in the book's final chapter and the ultimate mystery of what chased the Honored Matres back into the Old Empire.


Chapterhouse: Dune debuted at #5 and rose to #2 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[1] Gerald Jonas of The New York Times noted that "Against all odds, the universe of Dune keeps getting richer in texture, more challenging in its moral dilemmas."[11]


Two decades after Frank Herbert's death, his son Brian Herbert, along with Kevin J. Anderson, published two sequelsHunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007) – based on notes left behind by Frank Herbert for what he referred to as Dune 7, his own planned seventh novel in the Dune series.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ a b "Best Sellers". The New York Times. May 19, 1985. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (September 24, 2006). "Across the Universe: Dune Babies". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Snider, John C. (August 2007). "Audiobook Review: Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J Anderson". (Internet Archive). Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Dune 7 blog: Conspiracy Theories." (December 16, 2005). (Internet Archive). Retrieved October 12, 2008. "Frank Herbert wrote a detailed outline for Dune 7 and he left extensive Dune 7 notes, as well as stored boxes of his descriptions, epigraphs, chapters, character backgrounds, historical notes — over a thousand pages worth."
  5. ^ Neuman, Clayton (August 17, 2009). "Winds of Dune Author Brian Herbert on Flipping the Myth of Jihad." Retrieved August 19, 2009. "I got a call from an estate attorney who asked me what I wanted to do with two safety deposit boxes of my dad's ... in them were the notes to Dune 7 -- it was a 30-page outline. So I went up in my attic and found another 1,000 pages of working notes."
  6. ^ "Before Dune, After Frank Herbert." Retrieved November 12, 2008. "Brian was cleaning out his garage to make an office space and he found all these boxes that had "Dune Notes" on the side. And we used a lot of them for our House books."
  7. ^ "Interview with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson." (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2008. "We had already started work on House Atreides ... After we already had our general outline written and the proposal sent to publishers, then we found the outlines and notes. (This necessitated some changes, of course.)"
  8. ^ Ascher, Ian (2004). "Kevin J. Anderson Interview." (Internet Archive). Retrieved July 3, 2007. "... we are ready to tackle the next major challenge — writing the grand climax of the saga that Frank Herbert left in his original notes sealed in a safe deposit box ... after we'd already decided what we wanted to write ... They opened up the safe deposit box and found inside the full and complete outline for Dune 7 ... Later, when Brian was cleaning out his garage, in the back he found ... over three thousand pages of Frank Herbert's other notes, background material, and character sketches."
  9. ^ Adams, John Joseph (August 9, 2006). "New Dune Books Resume Story." (Internet Archive). Retrieved December 19, 2007. "Anderson said that Frank Herbert's notes included a description of the story and a great deal of character background information. 'But having a roadmap of the U.S. and actually driving across the country are two different things,' he said. 'Brian and I had a lot to work with and a lot to expand...'"
  10. ^ Snider, John C. (August 2007). "Audiobook Review: Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson." Retrieved February 15, 2009.
  11. ^ Jonas, Gerald (June 16, 1985). "Science Fiction (Review)". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 

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