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Is Dune A Trilogy? The Facts Explained

Is Dune A Trilogy? The Facts Explained

Dune is considered one of the best science fiction novels, and it has left a permanent mark on its readers. And while Dune remains a popular science fiction novel, there is still some confusion about whether it is considered a trilogy or not. 

Dune is a collection of six novels rather than a trilogy. The first three books in the series are frequently referred to as the “original trilogy,” although the story continues beyond that point, providing a narrative that is both more extensive and more intricate. 

Continue reading to learn more about Dune and whether it can be considered a trilogy. 

Is Dune a Trilogy?

Dune was written by Frank Herbert and published originally as two serialized novels, ‘Dune World’ and ‘The Prophet of Dune,’ and there is no evidence to prove that Herbert was looking to work on any other sequel at that time. 

This suggests that Dune was first written as a two-part novel rather than a trilogy, and both portions are included in the novel that is presently published under the name Dune. After publishing this novel, Herbert wrote five more novels within the series. 

So, why is Dune often confused as a Trilogy?

Here is where the misunderstanding stems from:

  • Dune, the first book in the series, consists of three chapters: Dune, Muad’Dib, and The Prophet 
  • Later on, two more novels were published by Herbert under the name Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. When these three books came out, they were marketed as a trilogy.
  • Herbert wrote three more books later, and they were named God Emperor of Dune, Dune Heretics, and Chapterhouse: Dune, and they were marketed as the second trilogy.

To sum up, there are a total of just six Dune books written by Frank Herbert. The remaining works in the series are a joint effort between Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert, with whom Anderson co-wrote numerous Dune novels. However, various reviews and opinions from fans indicate that these works cannot be considered canon due to their perceived inferior quality. 

How Many Dune Books Are There? 

Herbert only managed to write six Dune novels when he was alive, but his son Brian Herbert and bestselling novelist Kevin J. Anderson have added an extensive amount of additional canon stories to the series since his demise. The official count for the Dune Books series is 23. 

The following is a list of the Dune books, organized according to their order of publication. 

Original Dune Series

Dune is the first novel in the series written by Frank Herbert that focuses on the emergence of Paul Atreides on the planet Arrakis, which is a desert planet. Herbert has also written the following books: 

  • Dune Messiah (1969)
  • Children of Dune (1976)
  • God Emperor of Dune (1981)
  • Heretics of Dune (1984)
  • Chapterhouse: Dune (1985) 

Prequels to Dune Series

This collection of prequels is set before the events that take place in the first volumes of the series. It delves into what happened before Dune and where some of the characters came from. These books are a major creative accomplishment written from Herbert’s notes taken just before he passed away in 1986. 

  • House Atreides (1999)
  • House Harkonnen (2000)
  • House Corrino (2001) 

The Second Prequel Trilogy 

The events of this prequel trilogy take place 10,000 years before the events that took place in the first Dune novel, which was published in 1965. The books in this series go into the global conflict between sentient machines and robots, which is called the Butlerian Jihad. 

  • The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
  • The Machine Crusade (2003)
  • The Battle of Corrin (2004)
  • Hunters of Dune (2006)
  • Sandworms of Dune (2007)

Dune Series Heroes

This duology–though it was initially intended to be a quartet–takes place in the period between the events of Dune (1965) and Dune Messiah (1969). This work delves more extensively into Paul’s attempts to acquire dominion over the empire. 

  • Paul of Dune (2008)
  • The Winds of Dune (2009)

Sequel Trilogy

This trilogy is a continuation of the Legends of Dune series, and it takes place one hundred years after the events that took place in The Battle of Corrin (2004). It describes the evolution of the Bene Gesserit, Mentat, and Suk schools, as well as the increasing danger posed by an anti-technology faction following the Butlerian Jihad. 

  • Sisterhood of Dune (2012)
  • Mentats of Dune (2014)
  • Navigators of Dune (2016)\

The Caladan Trilogy

This trilogy, the most recent one and currently ongoing, recounts the events that occurred directly before the events that took place in Dune (1965). 

  • Dune: The Duke of Caladan (2020)
  • Dune: The Lady of Caladan (2021)
  • Dune: The Heir of Caladan (2022)

Best Dune Reading Sequence 

Dune is divided into two sections: Classic Dune and Expanded Dune. (Warning: spoilers below) 

Classic Dune, consisting of six novels authored by Frank Herbert, is the preferred version of the series by many fans because of its philosophical and complex treatment of the themes, plot, characters, and technology that has sustained Dune’s place in the science fiction genre. 

There are philosophical arguments and questions embedded in every scene and line of conversation; even the description of events has a deeper meaning. 

If you want to read Classic Dune, you should do so in a simple chronological manner.

  • Dune
  • Dune Messiah
  • Children of Dune
  • God-Emperor of Dune
  • Heretics of Dune
  • Chapterhouse Dune

Expanded Dune, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated than the original. Expanded Dune, which Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson authored, has divided Dune’s audience for several different reasons.

First, the writing style is different from Frank Herbert’s, which diminishes the insight that Herbert’s work is known to provide. Second, there are a lot of discrepancies in Expanded Dune, especially in Legends of Dune and Sequels to Dune.

If you are interested in Frank Herbert’s original goals and philosophies, you should probably consider reading Classic Dune instead of Expanded Dune. However, Expanded Dune does give some background on what happens in Dune and concludes Classic Dune in a way that doesn’t appear to be in line with Herbert’s original plan for Dune 7.


Although Dune is often mistakenly considered a trilogy, it is actually a rich series comprising six novels. These novels are replete with scientific and philosophical discussion, and they go beyond the typical trilogy format by incorporating other themes.