Now that HELLHOLE is delivered and in production, Brian Herbert and I spent most of last week holed up together in intensive brainstorming for our next DUNE novel.

After writing two novels at the far end of the Dune timeline (HUNTERS and SANDWORMS) and two standalone “inquels” closely set within Frank Herbert’s original “Dune” trilogy (PAUL OF DUNE and THE WINDS OF DUNE), we’re going back to the exciting and unexplored territory of the first century after the end of the Butlerian Jihad — a trilogy that explores the formation of the major schools and political organizations that guide and shape the Dune universe.

Over the course of three novels, we’ll describe the formation of the Bene Gesserit, the Mentats, the Suk Doctors, the Spacing Guild and the Navigators, as well as the solidifying of the Corrino imperium.  It’s a big story set against the great turmoil of continuing anti-technology fervor and the religious unrest of the C.E.T.  The first novel is titled THE SISTERHOOD OF DUNE and will likely be published in early 2012.  Anyone who’s attended our talks and signings knows that Brian and I have been planning this series for a long time.

We still have two more inquels to do, after WINDS and PAUL, but those are independent books, and we plan to go back to them later; right now, we found ourselves much more engrossed with this story in the early time period—and a large portion of our fan mail comes from readers asking when they’ll see more of Vorian Atreides.

We’ve written a detailed 84-chapter outline and are fine-tuning and fleshing it out right now.  We should start writing our individual chapters by the end of the month.

Also, we just received the French translation of THE ROAD TO DUNE.  Cover below.