Chapterhouse: Dune


Chapterhouse Dune is the last in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.

It’s really hard for me to make a judgement about Chapterhouse: Dune. On the one hand there are some excellent characters and the general story line is great. On the other, there are parts I found really boring. I got a bit sick of the teasers without any explanation. At first is was intriguing, but as they continued I just got a bit fed up with them and decided to stop second guessing the outcome and just let it happen. I think there are two ways an author can play this game:

1) Make the outcome fairly obvious from the start, but make the journey to get there exciting. Kind of like The Dresden Files.
2) Make the outcome a mystery, but subtly lead you in the right direction.

I think this book is trying to do the latter, but is quite clumsy about it. Having said all that, I’m glad I read it. The overall outcome is more than satisfactory.

I’m not going to read the books by Frank Herbert’s son. I’ve been told they are not good, and the brief snippets I’ve read seem to reinforce that.

I guess the end of a series of books like this needs a bit of a summary. I think the first book is a total classic. The rest you can take or leave. There are definitely interesting elements to all of them, but they are not nearly as accomplished as the first.



Prize Winners : Oracle E-Business Suite R12 Integration and OA Framework Development and Extension Cookbook


A couple of weeks ago I started a competition to win 2 copies of Oracle E-Business Suite R12 Integration and OA Framework Development and Extension Cookbook by Andy Penver. Thanks to Packt for donating the prizes. The competition closed yesterday and the lucky winners are:

  • Arun
  • Ajay Sharma

I’ve sent your email addresses to my contact at Packt, who will contact you to deliver your e-book.



Win A Free Copy of Packt’s Managing Multimedia and Unstructured Data in the Oracle Database e-book


I recently did the technical review of some of the chapters in a new Packt book called Managing Multimedia and Unstructured Data in the Oracle Database by Marcelle Kratochvil. I’ve known Marcelle for years and although we don’t always see eye-to-eye on DBA matters, she is definitely the first person I speak to about matters concerning multimedia and Oracle databases. A number of people “talk the talk”, but Marcelle is one of the few people that can actually “walk the walk” on this subject!

If you are interested in getting a free e-copy of this book, Packt Publishing are organizing a give away. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me why you think you deserve a copy and what you hope to achieve after reading it. In 2 weeks (approximately 26-April-2013) I’ll read and judge the responses and make sure an e-copy of the book gets to the 4 lucky winners. I’ll be contacting the winners by email, so you will have to use your real email address when you comment! :)

I’m not going to reveal my judging criteria, and I’ll probably ask Marcelle to help me decide, so try and be a little creative in your answers. :) Just asking for a copy is not going to make you a winner. :)

Let the games begin…



Note. Comments on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ will not be judged. Your entry must be a comment on this blog post.

Heretics of Dune


Heretics of Dune is the fifth book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.

This book picks up the story 1,500 years after the last one ended. The descendants of Siona had scattered throughout the universe, hidden from prescient minds by their unique genetics traits. Now some of them return from the scattering, but for what purpose?

The first book in the series is what drew me in. The next couple of books were not great. The fourth was a lot better. This one continues the upward trend. The intensity builds pretty much from the start all the way through, but the ending is a little weak. The next book starts where this one left off, so I guess that’s the reason for the week ending in this case.

As with the previous books, there are some fantastic sound bites. When you are reading the books on a Kindle you can see the pages littered with other people’s highlights. I could list hundreds, but here are just a few.


“Quite naturally, holders of power wish to suppress “wild” research. Unrestricted questing after knowledge has a long history of producing unwanted competition.”

“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?”

“… we only hate what’s really dangerous to us.”



God Emperor of Dune…


God Emperor of Dune is the fourth book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.

After the randomness of the previous book, this fourth one was a lot more on-the-money. There are a number of scenes in the book I really hooked into, including one I blogged about a few days ago. It’s far from perfect, but it kept me interested. Probably the worst part of the book was then ending, which was rather lackluster.

I’m looking forward to see if this direction continues into the next book.



Children of Dune…


Children of Dune is the third book in the Dune series written by Frank Herbert.

As I suspected, Children of Dune is a bit random. In summarised form the story would sound quite good, but the books rambles on a lot. I found myself wishing for chapters to end. I’m told by a few people things pick up from here. I’ve already started the next book and so far it sounds pretty promising… :)



Dune Messiah…


Dune Messiah is the second in the Dune series written by Frank Herbert.

I got a few warnings from people that the sequels to the original book were not so good. I have to admit it lacks the direction and thrust of the first book, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. In fact I actually quite enjoyed it. It does ramble a bit at times, but it was nice to see some of the other characters getting fleshed out a bit.

This book and the next book, Children of Dune, were combined into the Children of Dune TV mini series. Having seen that, I’m expecting Children of Dune to be a bit random. We shall see. :)



Cold Days…


Cold Days is the latest book in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.

So Harry is alive again and now he’s the Winter Knight. The enforcer for Mab, the crazy queen of the Winter Fairies. Maybe staying dead was the better option. So what’s the first thing Mab orders Harry to do? Kill an immortal, whilst fighting an army of other-worldly beings, all the time trying to keep his friends safe and prevent Chicago from being leveled. Another day in the office for Harry Dresden.

I must admit this was a little struggle for me at first. The characters of Repairman Jack, Felix Castor and Harry Dresden have all merged in my head. Coming back to Harry confused me at times because I expected a different pattern of behavior from him, only to realize I was thinking about how one of the characters from one of the other authors would react. Once I got locked into Harry-mode, it was all guns blazing.

The pattern is very similar to the other books in the series. There are predictable story lines you can see from a mile off, with a number of curve balls thrown in along the way. There were definitely a few OMG moments in this book. Especially towards the end. I’m looking forward to the next book to see how some of this pans out. I can tell you now, Harry is going to have some serious ear-ache from some of his best friends!





I’ve been a fan of the film Dune for ages. I also liked the TV mini series. The Children of Dune TV mini series was a bit too random for me. A remake of Dune is in the offing. With that in mind it is a little surprising to me that I’ve never got round to reading the book until now.

I think it’s safe to say I loved it. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve read in ages. Watching the film and TV series did not spoil it for me in the slightest, and quite unusually, reading the book has not lessened my love of the film.

The characters are brilliant. There is a lot of wisdom in the book too. In a previous post I mentioned one quote. I could pick out loads that are incredibly well observed and interesting. It ticks so many of the boxes for me I’m just sad there are not more of the same quality. Having discussed this book with some of the Oakies, they’ve advised me the rest in the series are pretty bad and the books written by his son are terrible. I’m not sure if I will read more, because I’m not sure I want to risk the disappointment. I’ll think on it.

I’m moving on to Cold Days now. Go Harry!



Girl 99…


When I was at University I lived in shared houses with the author of Girl 99, Andy, for several years. We were on the same degree course and both stayed on to do PhDs. When he left to go to London I shared a house with his (then) girlfriend for a year before she left Uni. Suffice to say, over those years I got to know the guy pretty well.

A few days ago I got an email to say his book was available in the Kindle store so I immediately bought a copy and started reading. It’s kinda weird reading a novel written by a friend, because part of you is looking for the pieces of them that have made it into the characters. It is a long way from being an autobiography, but I can spot elements of the author, and possibly other people we knew, in the book. Of course, I could probably say the same of any number of books if I were looking for the connections. :)

So what about the story itself?

“William Fisher is on a mission to bring the total number of his sexual conquests up to 100.

During the course of his quest he sleeps with a colleague, a colleague of a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a friend’s wife, the estate agent selling his flat, and several more besides. Everything is going, if not well, then at least according to plan … and then Fisher goes and ruins it all by falling for Girl 99.

Girl 99 is a story about love, sex and the sticky area in-between.”

It’s really cool. The lead character had a good mix of funny, sad, frustrating and endearing qualities. Some scenes resulted in full on belly laughs, while others were of a more reflective nature.

The writing style was really comfortable to read and it was paced well, making me a little annoyed when I had to put it down. :)

If you fancy reading it, I would love to hear your feedback, as would the author in the Amazon reviews…

Call me biased, but I’m looking forward to reading the next book from this author. I’ve already suggested the lead character should be a boring, fat science graduate that stumbles into an IT job… :)