The Butlerian Jihad, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, is the first of three books in a prequel to the Dune series. The books focus on the human war against the machines.
The human-created thinking machines were able to seize control of a number of worlds. The story describes the machine attacks on human worlds in a seemingly pointless struggle for humans to survive to an understanding of the machines and technology that helps turn the tide.
I found the personalities of the machines to be interesting in their strengths, weaknesses, and their understanding of humanity. they strive to learn about people and to subjugate them for their own good.
This book sees the earliest beginning of the Fremen, Bene Gesserit, Ixians and Bene Tleilax. There are further suggestions or promises to develop the spacing guild and mentats in the next volumes.
The book violated some of the tenets of the Dune series previously. The technology is explained in present terms rather than left to the imagination. Now we know for sure that the lasguns are laser-related. This felt odd since it was intentionally left vague.
Another violation was that action took place on Earth, which was previously a mysterious birth-place of humanity and never described.
These didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. It provides a good background for the later stories and fits well with the previous writing styles.