Dune is not only a classic novel, but a vast universe created by Frank Herbert. And with six novels written by Frank himself as well as 13 novels and nine short stories written by us—covering approximately 15,000 years of history in the Dune canon—it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
We strongly recommend reading Frank Herbert’s original novel Dune first. This is one of the seminal works in all of literature, and everyone should read it. After that, we suggest Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, to finish Frank Herbert’s original trilogy.
At that point, you have several options. You can keep reading through Frank’s other three Dune novels which span about 5000 years of history, and follow that chronologically by reading our Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune, which were based upon Frank Herbert’s notes…followed by our other prequels and sequels.
As alternatives, we recommend two other entry points:
Dune: House Atreides begins a prequel trilogy that goes back to the generation just before Dune, in which we tell the story of young Duke Leto, his love story with Lady Jessica, their first battles with Baron Harkonnen, and how Crown Prince Shaddam took the Imperial throne.
Or you can go back 10,000 years before Frank Herbert’s Dune, with the trilogy that starts with Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, and another trilogy beginning with Navigators of Dune…in all, six novels that establish the origins of the Fremen, the discovery of spice, the legendary war against the thinking machines, and the beginning of the feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen.
Yet another option would be to read all of the novels and short stories in chronological order, starting with “Hunting Harkonnens.” Below is a chronological list of novels and short stories, from beginning to end. All the short stories are collected in Tales of Dune, except for the just-released “The Waters of Kanly,” which appeared in Infinite Stars, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
Two other books of interest are The Road to Dune, with a collection of background material, some of the short stories, and the short novel “Spice Planet,” a very different version of Dune, as originally outlined by Frank Herbert and written by us.
And if you want to learn more about the genius of Frank Herbert, who created this grand universe, you will enjoy Dreamer of Dune, Brian’s Hugo-nominated biography of his father.
The Dune Universe in Chronological Order:
“Hunting Harkonnens” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
“Whipping Mek” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune: The Machine Crusade
“The Faces of a Martyr” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune: The Battle of Corrin
Sisterhood of Dune
Mentats of Dune
“Red Plague” (story, Tales of Dune)
Navigators of Dune
Dune: House Atreides
Dune: House Harkonnen
Dune: House Corrino
“Wedding Silk” (story, Tales of Dune)
“A Whisper of Caladan Seas” (story, Tales of Dune)
“The Waters of Kanly” (story, Infinite Stars)
Paul of Dune
Winds of Dune
Children of Dune
God Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
“Sea Child” (story, Tales of Dune)
“Treasure in the Sand” (story, Tales of Dune)
Hunters of Dune
Sandworms of Dune
Tales of Dune
The Road to Dune
Dreamer of Dune [biography of Frank Herbert]