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Dune Books in Order: Chronological and Release Reading Guide

banner image that says the Dune reading order

Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of the most popular science fiction series ever written. It was originally created by Frank Herbert and has since been expanded to include books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, as well as other media like movies, comics, etc.

The popularity of the Dune universe has led many people to ask how they should go about reading the books in order.

There are two ways you can read them: chronological or release order (the way that they were published).

This blog post will give an overview of both methods as well as a comprehensive timeline that puts everything together, including the short stories, films, and comics.

What’s on the Timeline of the Dune Books in Order?

 Dune was started by Frank Herbert in 1965. However, he was only able to finish six books before his death. His son, Brian Herbert, with the help of Kevin J. Anderson continued the series. Then they expanded the lore behind it. Here is the completely chronological Dune reading order for the entire series, including the original six novels and Brian’s additions. This list includes all of the following:

  • The original books: The six books originally written by Frank Herbert, starting with Dune in 1965.
  • Additional books: All of the books written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
  • Short Stories: Several short stories written by various authors.
  • Film/Television Adaptations: The 1984 film adaptation, and the Syfy adaptations of Dune, Dune: Messiah, and Children of Dune, as well as the 2021 film by Denis Villeneuve.
  • Comics: There have been a few Dune comics over the years, but most notable is the series published by Marvel from 1977-1986 as well as the modern Dynamite Comics series.

The bulk of this series comes in the form of books. We hope you enjoy. As always, if there’s a problem with the timeline, be sure to let us know. Additionally, if you enjoyed this timeline, you might like others, such as our Lord of the Rings timeline.

The Timeline Table

Enjoy this tab enjoy this table, outlining all of the different media in the dune franchise, including books, movies, comics, and more.

This timeline is sortable by release order and chronological order, as well as by Title. Enjoy!

The Original Series

The original Dune series consists of six novels written by Frank Herbert which make up the main Dune canon. These are the original books, which include:

  • Dune in 1965: This first Dune book is about a young boy and his father who land on a desert planet and must defeat the Emperor, the evil Baron Harkonnen, and take control of the galaxy.
  • Dune Messiah in 1969: Dune Messiah is the second book in the original series, and it’s about how Paul Muad’dib has now become Emperor through fearsome war, and the fallout from that.
  • Children of Dune in 1976: This book is about how Paul’s children have to take charge when there’s a crisis on Arrakis
  • God Emperor of Dune in 1981: Centuries have passed on Dune since Paul Atreides’ reign, and the planet is now covered in vegetation. The future of humanity is inextricably linked to Paul’s son Leto, who is still alive but has been transformed into a beast far removed from his original form.
  • Heretics of Dune in 1984: The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The enormous sandworms are becoming extinct. The children of Dune’s progeny emerge from empire.
  • Chapterhouse: Dune in 1987: The desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, has been eradicated. The Bene Gesserit, now weiling Dune’s power, are turning a green world into a desert.

Unfortunately, Frank Herbert passed away after writing the sixth book, leaving the series incomplete. However, he did leave extensive notes for his son Brian Herbert to follow up on in order to finish it.

The Books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Frank Herbert’s Son, Brian Herbert, along with Kevin J. Anderson continued the series with several books after Frank Herbert passed away, which are published in this order:

  • Prelude to Dune series:
    • House Atreides (1999)
    • House Harkonnen (2000)
    • House Corrino (2001)
  • Legends of Dune series:
    • The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
    • The Machine Crusade (2003)
    • The Battle of Corrin (2004)
  • The Dune sequels:
    • Hunters of Dune (2006)
    • Sandworms of Dune (2007)
  • Heroes of Dune series:
    • Paul of Dune (2008)
    • The Winds of Dune (2009)
  • Great Schools of Dune series:
    • Sisterhood of Dune (2012)
    • Mentats of Dune (2014)
    • Navigators of Dune (2016)
  • The Caladan Trilogy series:
    • Dune: The Duke of Caladan (2020)
    • Dune: The Lady of Caladan (2021)
    • Dune: The Heir of Caladan (2022)

As you can see, there are a lot more books in this series by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson after Frank passed away, totaling 16 books and many short stories! These books are at a lower canonicity compared to the original books, but they are still enjoyable reads.

The Chronological Order of All Books

The chronological order of all the books are as follows (I’ve bolded the Frank Herbert original novels):

  • The Butlerian Jihad
  • The Machine Crusade
  • The Battle of Corrin
  • Sisterhood of Dune
  • Mentats of Dune
  • Navigators of Dune
  • House Atreides
  • House Harkonnen
  • House Corrino
  • The Duke of Caladan
  • The Lady of Caladan
  • The Heir of Caladan
  • Dune
  • Paul of Dune
  • Dune Messiah
  • The Winds of Dune
  • Children of Dune
  • God Emperor of Dune
  • Heretics of Dune
  • Chapterhouse Dune
  • Hunters of Dune
  • Sandworms of Dune

The chronological order is a great way to read the books if you are looking for a way to read them all in order, but still want to know how they connect. However, it is not always the best option since each book has its own themes and characters that may be lost on someone who reads another book later down the line.

Adaptations of the Dune Books

There have been several adaptations of the dune novels made into various formats of media, including movies and television.

There have been three major film or television adaptations of the books, including:

  • 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch
  • TV miniseries in 2000 based on Dune, and its 2003 sequel series that follows Dune Messiah and Children of Dune
  • 2021 film adaptation by Denis Villeneuve

There have also been some comic adaptations of the books, including:

  • Marvel Comics adaptation from 1965-1969
  • Dynamite Entertainment comics series that ran from 2009 to 2013
  • The Boom! Studios adaptation of House Atreides that began in October 2020

What is the best way to read the Dune books?

It is hard to say what the best way to read all of these books are. Each book has its own characters and themes that may be lost if you read it later down the line, while some people enjoy reading them in order so they can follow along with the story more easily. Many think that by following release order or chronological order makes for a good experience too!

Personally, I would recommend you read the original six books by Frank Herbert first, then go back and start chronologically with the prequel books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

Which Dune Books are the Best?

As with any extensive series, it can be difficult to choose which books are the best. To help you out, we have a few that stand out from the rest. My favorite Dune books are:

  • The Dune Trilogy, consisting of Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune
  • The Legends of Dune prequel trilogy
  • The Great Schools of Dune prequel trilogy

## How Many Dune Books are There?

There are a lot of Dune books, totaling 22 official books and several short stories!

Is Dune an Easy Read?

Dune is not the easiest book to read, especially if you are new to reading. It may be difficult for some people because of the language and writing style used by Frank Herbert in his books, which is written in a less-common third-person omniscient style.

That being said, after a few chapters or so I think most readers will get into the swing of things easily enough! And the first few books of Dune are by far the easiest to read.

Is Dune Actually Good?

The Dune Saga is an amazing book series, but what makes it the best of all is its incredible thought provoking legacy.

The best thing about Dune is that it’s not just a science fiction novel with pretty craft, but also has incredible social and political implications that can be applied to our world today. It reflects the way society works in unexpected ways, pointing out societal flaws and generational gaps for us to examine as we read through each page with awe.

What is Dune all About?

Dune is about a planet called Arrakis, also known as Dune. It’s an inhospitable desert world with little to no water where the few inhabitants are plagued by constant sandstorms. They mainly focus on Spice Melange which gives them long life spans, but can be addicting with prolonged exposure.

The book follows several characters who all play different roles that eventually come together into one cohesive story line filled with adventure! The main character Paul Atreides leads his family through the treacherous lands while dealing with betrayal, redemption, love against hate politics and more along the way.

One of my favorite things about this series are its complex characters that keep you on your toes throughout each book! They make decisions with emotions and motivations that feel real even if they aren’t always perfect or completely understandable to readers at first glance. This makes it hard for readers not to fall in love with these characters as time goes by because eventually their true colors start peeking through little by little until we can truly begin to understand them better over time just like Paul Atreides himself.

In short, you should go read it to learn more.