The trailers have excited us, Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya’s red carpet looks have dazzled us, and now the long-awaited adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune is finally upon us. If you just watched the movie and have fallen head-over-heels for Herbert’s sci-fi epic, you’re not alone (when is the sequel coming out?!). Don’t fret, though! Your journey into the world of Dune has just begun.
For those unfamiliar, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is adapted from the first half of Frank Herbert’s seminal novel of the same name. Not only is there a whole other half of the book for you to dive into, but there are also five remaining novels in the original series by Herbert, and 15 accompanying novels by his son Brian Herbert and author Kevin J. Anderson that span some 15,000 of Dune history. Yeah.
There’s a lot of material out there, so we’ve put together a recommended reading order and guide to the saga so you can enjoy Herbert’s sci-fi epic without getting lost.
The original series by Frank Herbert
You’ll want to start with the six original novels actually written by Frank Herbert. Published from 1965 to 1985, these novels span several thousand years and sit tidily in the middle of the Dune saga. The first three books, Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune introduce and follow the arc of Paul Atreides. Casual fans may very well leave off there, but for those who are a little more invested, you can continue through the remaining three novels, which span about 5000 years of Dune history. Unfortunately, Chapterhouse: Dune ends on a cliffhanger as Frank Herbert didn’t get a chance to finish the series before his death in 1986.
• Dune Messiah
• Children of Dune
• God Emperor of Dune
• Heretics of Dune
• Chapterhouse: Dune
Conclusion of the original series
Fret not, for a finale to the original series does exist. Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune, written based on Frank Herbert’s notes by his son, Brian Herbert, and author Kevin J. Anderson completes the saga that Frank Herbert began.
• Hunters of Dune
• Sandworms of Dune
From there, you can choose how to proceed with the remaining books (of which there are many!). Here they are listed in chronological order:
BEFORE THE ORIGINALS
Legends of Dune
The Legends of Dune trilogy takes place over 10,000 years before the events of Dune and establishes the culture, families, and war against thinking machines.
• The Butlerian Jihad
• The Machine Crusade
• The Battle of Corrin
Schools of Dune
The Great Schools of Dune trilogy takes place about a century after the events of The Battle of Corrin and chronicles the early years of the Imperium’s Great Schools.
• Sisterhood of Dune
• Mentats of Dune
• Navigators of Dune
Prelude to Dune
The Prelude to Dune trilogy is a direct prequel to Dune and takes place in the decades leading up to the events in the original book, setting up the relationships and politics that set the stage for the battle of Arrakis.
• Dune: House Atreides
• Dune: House Harkonnen
• Dune: House Corrino
The Caladan Trilogy
The Caldan Trilogy, which was announced in 2020, focuses on Duke Leto, Lady Jessica, and Paul, and leads directly into Dune.
• Dune: The Duke of Caladan
• Dune: The Lady of Caladan
• Dune: The Heir of Caladan (forthcoming)
DURING THE ORIGINALS
Heroes of Dune
The Heroes of Dune is a duology that takes place during the Corrino Empire and fills in the gaps between Frank Herbert’s original novels.
• Paul of Dune
• The Winds of Dune
Looking for Book Recommendations?
• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).
• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.
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