The last installment in the Dune canon had such an enigmatic and abrupt ending that I was curious and skeptical as to how BH and KJA were going to credibly re-ignite the series. The good news is that they weren't flying blind- Frank Herbert had extensive notes on Dune 7, and I'm sure this is why 'Hunters' worked so much better than the prequels. 'Chapterhouse' ends with a Duncan Idaho ghola (similar to a clone, but with all of the memories of his previous lives), Sheana (Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother), Scytale (Tleilaxu Master), and several others stealing a no-ship the size of a city from Murbella and the Honored Matre/Bene Gesserit combined faction on 'Chapterhouse'. After their escape, they are captured in a cosmic net by an old man and old woman. Two decades later, we finally have an explanation!
The majority of the story takes place in three milieu's: aboard the no-ship that Duncan and team used in their escape, Chapterhouse (home of the New Sisterhood), and Tleilax. I got the sense that BH and KJA took greater care in both style and content to maintain continuity with original canon. I truly believe that if someone who had never read the dune novels were to pick up and read this series, from Dune to Hunters of Dune, they would not be able to tell that 'Hunters' was written by a different author(s). I know that's a bold statement, but throughout my journey into 'Hunters', it never felt like an imitation of Frank Herbert's work. This is in stark contrast to the prequels. None of the Dune novels matched the first book (Dune) in the series for philosophical grace and sheer literary beauty. That's not to say that the proceeding novels in the canon weren't excellent in their own right, but none of them matched the elegance of style or evoked the same kind of revelatory stir that 'Dune' created. With that in mind, 'Hunters' fit right into the previous five books in the series. A warning, though. 'Hunters of Dune' incorporates many subplots from several of the classic Dune novels, as well as the prequels, particularly the 'Legends of Dune' trilogy. If you haven't read all six of the original dune novels, I highly suggest that you do so before jumping into 'Hunters'. The complexities of the plot will seem overwhelming at best, and utterly incomprehensible at worst. The elder Herbert's characters often cited their plans as, "wheels within wheels" or "plans within plans". Dune 7 weaves a complex tapestry of many wheels within many wheels- a myriad of plans all working toward a grand universal plan that is too complicated to comprehend without a working knowledge of the many storylines that have been told thoughout the epoch. The latest installment to the series was sharp, poignant, and thoroughly enjoyable, but only because I had read all of the Dune canon, plus the 'Prelude to Dune', and 'Legends of Dune' trilogies. Part of the intrigue of the Dune universe is it's commentary on the inner-workings of politics, religion, and the essence of human survival. Complex topics encompassed in a complex story, both beautiful and brutal. This series deserves to be read in it's entirety, and 'Hunters of Dune' necessitates that, at the bare minimum, the entire Dune canon be read before this one can be savored, enjoyed, and appreciated for the great work of science-fiction that it is.