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Description

Product Description

Book Two in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles—the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known—and feared—as the man christened Muad’Dib. As Emperor of the known universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremen, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne—and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family’s dynasty...

Review

Praise for Dune Messiah

“Brilliant...it is all that Dune was, and maybe a little more.”— Galaxy Magazine
 
“The perfect companion piece to Dune...fascinating.”—Challenging Destiny

Praise for Dune

“I know nothing comparable to it except  Lord of the Rings.”—Arthur C. Clarke
 
“A portrayal of an alien society more complete and deeply detailed than any other author in the field has managed...a story absorbing equally for its action and philosophical vistas.”— The Washington Post Book World

“One of the monuments of modern science fiction.”— Chicago Tribune

“Powerful, convincing, and most ingenious.”—Robert A. Heinlein
 
“Herbert’s creation of this universe, with its intricate development and analysis of ecology, religion, politics and philosophy, remains one of the supreme and seminal achievements in science fiction.”— Louisville Times

About the Author

Frank Herbert was the bestselling author of the Dune saga. He was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer.

In 1952, Herbert began publishing science fiction with “Looking for Something?” in Startling Stories. But his emergence as a writer of major stature did not occur until 1965, with the publication of Dune. Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune followed, completing the saga that the Chicago Tribune would call “one of the monuments of modern science fiction.” Herbert was also the author of some twenty other books, including The White Plague, The Dosadi Experiment, and Destination: Void. He died in 1986.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Introduction

 

 

EPILOGUE

Books by Frank Herbert

THE BOOK OF FRANK HERBERT
DESTINATION VOID (revised edition)
DIRECT DESCENT
THE DOSADI EXPERIMENT
EYE

THE EYES OF HEISENBERG
THE GODMAKERS
THE GREEN BRAIN
THE MAKER OF DUNE
THE SANTAROGA BARRIER
SOUL CATCHER
WHIPPING STAR
THE WHITE PLAGUE
THE WORLDS OF FRANK HERBERT
MAN OF TWO WORLDS
(with Brian Herbert)

 

The Dune Chronicles
DUNE
DUNE MESSIAH
CHILDREN OF DUNE
GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE
HERETICS OF DUNE
CHAPTERHOUSE: DUNE

 

 

Books by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom
THE JESUS INCIDENT
THE LAZARUS EFFECT
THE ASCENSION FACTOR

 

 

Books edited by Brian Herbert
THE NOTEBOOKS OF FRANK HERBERT’S DUNE
SONGS OF MUAD’DIB

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

 

Published by arrangement with Herbert Properties LLC.

 

Copyright © 1969 by Frank Herbert.

 

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form with
out permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation
of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
ACE and the “A” design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Herbert, Frank.
Dune messiah / Frank Herbert ; with a new introduction by Brian Herbert.
p. cm.—(Dune chronicles ; bk. 2)

eISBN : 978-1-101-15787-9

 

1. Dune (Imaginary place)—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3558.E63D86 2008
813’.54—dc22
2007040248

INTRODUCTION

by Brian Herbert

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dune Messiah is the most misunderstood of Frank Herbert’s novels. The reasons for this are as fascinating and complex as the renowned author himself.

Just before this first sequel to Dune was published in 1969, it ran in installments in the science fiction magazine Galaxy. The serialized “Dune Messiah” was named “disappointment of the year” by the satirical magazine National Lampoon. The story had earlier been rejected by Analog editor John W. Campbell, who, like the Lampooners, loved the majestic, heroic aspects of Dune and hated the antithetical elements of the sequel. His readers wanted stories about heroes accomplishing great feats, he said, not stories of protagonists with “clay feet.”

The detractors did not understand that Dune Messiah was a bridging work, connecting Dune with an as-yet-uncompleted third book in the trilogy. To get there, the second novel in the series flipped over the carefully crafted hero myth of Paul Muad’Dib and revealed the dark side of the messiah phenomenon that had appeared to be so glorious in Dune. Many readers didn’t want that dose of reality; they couldn’t stand the demotion of their beloved, charismatic champion, especially after the author had already killed off two of their favorite characters in Dune, the loyal Atreides swordmaster Duncan Idaho1 and the idealistic planetologist Liet-Kynes.

But they overlooked important clues that Frank Herbert had left along the way. In Dune, when Liet-Kynes lay dying in the desert, he remembered these words of his father, Pardot, spoken years before and relegated to the back reaches of memory: “No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.” Near the end of the novel, in a foreshadowing epigraph, Princess Irulan described the victorious Muad’Dib in multifaceted and sometimes conflicting terms as “warrior and mystic, ogre and saint, the fox and the innocent, chivalrous, ruthless, less than a god, more than a man.” And in an appendix to Dune, Frank Herbert wrote that the desert planet “was afflicted by a Hero.”

These sprinklings in Dune were markers pointing in the direction Frank Herbert had in mind, transforming a utopian civilization into a violent dystopia. In fact, the original working title for the second book in the series was Fool Saint, which he would change two more times before settling on Dune Messiah. But in the published novel, he wrote, concerning Muad’Dib:

He is the fool saint,
The golden stranger living forever
On the edge of reason.
Let your guard fall and he is there!

The author felt that heroic leaders often made mistakes . . . mistakes that were amplified by the number of followers who were held in thrall by charisma. As a political speechwriter in the 1950s, Dad had worked in Washington, D.C., and had seen the megalomania of leadership and the pitfalls of following magnetic, charming politicians. Planting yet another interesting seed in Dune, he wrote, “It is said in the desert that possession of water in great amount can inflict a man with fatal carelessness.” This was an important reference to Greek hubris. Very few readers realized that the story of Paul Atreides was not only a Greek tragedy on an individual and familial scale. There was yet another layer, even larger, in which Frank Herbert was warning that entire societies could be led to ruination by heroes. In Dune and Dune Messiah, he was cautioning against pride and overconfidence, that form of narcissism described in Greek tragedies that invariably led to the great fall.

Among the dangerous leaders of human history, my father sometimes mentioned General George S. Patton because of his charismatic qualities—but more often his example was President John F. Kennedy. Around Kennedy, a myth of kingship had formed, and of Camelot. The handsome young president’s followers did not question him and would have gone virtually anywhere he led them. This danger seems obvious to us now in the cases of such men as Adolf Hitler, whose powerful magnetism led his nation into ruination. It is less obvious, however, with men who are not deranged or evil in and of themselves—such as Kennedy, or the fictional Paul Muad’Dib, whose danger lay in the religious myth structure around him and what people did in his name.

Among my father’s most important messages were that governments lie to protect themselves and they make incredibly stupid decisions. Years after the publication of Dune, Richard M. Nixon provided ample proof. Dad said that Nixon did the American people an immense favor in his attempt to cover up the Watergate misdeeds. By amplified example, albeit unwittingly, the thirty-seventh president of the United States taught people to question their leaders. In interviews and impassioned speeches on university campuses all across the country, Frank Herbert warned young people not to trust government, telling them that the American founding fathers had understood this and had attempted to establish safeguards in the Constitution.

In the transition from Dune to Dune Messiah, Dad accomplished something of a sleight of hand. In the sequel, while emphasizing the actions of the heroic Paul Muad’Dib, as he had done in Dune, the author was also orchestrating monumental background changes and dangers involving the machinations of the people surrounding that leader. Several people would vie for position to become closest to Paul; in the process they would secure for themselves as much power as possible, and some would misuse it, with dire consequences.

After the Dune series became wildly popular, many fans began to consider Frank Herbert in a light that he had not sought and which he did not appreciate. In one description of him, he was referred to as “a guru of science fiction.” Others depicted him in heroic terms. To counter this, in remarks that were consistent with his Paul Atreides characterization, Frank Herbert told interviewers that he did not want to be considered a hero, and he sometimes said to them, with disarming humility, “I’m nobody.”

Certainly my father was anything but that. In Dreamer of Dune, the biography I wrote about him, I described him as a legendary author. But in his lifetime, he sought to avoid such a mantle. As if whispering in his own ear, Frank Herbert constantly reminded himself that he was mortal. If he had been a politician, he would have undoubtedly been an honorable one, perhaps even one of our greatest U.S. presidents. He might have attained that high office, or reached any number of other lofty goals, had he decided to do so. But as a science fiction fan myself, I’m glad he took the course that he did. Because he was a great writer, his cautionary words will carry on through the ages and hopefully influence people in decision-making positions, causing them to set up safeguards that will protect against abuses of power, both by leaders and by their followers.

As you read Dune Messiah, enjoy the adventure story, the suspense, the marvelous characterizations and exotic settings. Then go back and read it again. You’ll discover something new on each pass through the pages. And you’ll get to know Frank Herbert better as a human being.

 

 

Brian Herbert
Seattle, Washington
October 16, 2007

EXCERPTS FROM THE DEATH CELL INTERVIEW WITH BRONSO OF IX—

Q: What led you to take your particular approach to a history of Muad’dib?

A: Why should I answer your questions?

Q: Because I will preserve your words.

A: Ahhh! The ultimate appeal to a historian!

Q: Will you cooperate then?

A: Why not? But you’ll never understand what inspired my Analysis of History. Never. You Priests have too much at stake to . . .

Q: Try me.

A: Try you? Well, again . . . why not? I was caught by the shallowness of the common view of this planet which arises from its popular name: Dune. Not Arrakis, notice, but Dune. History is obsessed by Dune as desert, as birthplace of the Fremen. Such history concentrates on the customs which grew out of water scarcity and the fact that Fremen led semi-nomadic lives in stillsuits which recovered most of their body’s moisture.

Q: Are these things not true, then?

A: They are surface truth. As well ignore what lies beneath that surface as . . . as try to understand my birthplanet, Ix, without exploring how we derived our name from the fact that we are the ninth planet of our sun. No . . . no. It is not enough to see Dune as a place of savage storms. It is not enough to talk about the threat posed by the gigantic sandworms.

Q: But such things are crucial to the Arrakeen character!

A: Crucial? Of course. But they produce a one-view planet in the same way that Dune is a one-crop planet because it is the sole and exclusive source of the spice, melange.

Q: Yes. Let us hear you expand on the sacred spice.

A: Sacred! As with all things sacred, it gives with one hand and takes with the other. It extends life and allows the adept to foresee his future, but it ties him to a cruel addiction and marks his eyes as yours are marked: total blue without any white. Your eyes, your organs of sight, become one thing without contrast, a single view. Q: Such heresy brought you to this cell!

A: I was brought to this cell by your Priests. As with all priests, you learned early to call the truth heresy.

Q: You are here because you dared to say that Paul Atreides lost something essential to his humanity before he could become Muad’dib.

A: Not to speak of his losing his father here in the Harkonnen war.

Nor the death of Duncan Idaho, who sacrificed himself that Paul and the Lady Jessica could escape.

Q: Your cynicism is duly noted.

A: Cynicism! That, no doubt is a greater crime than heresy. But, you see, I’m not really a cynic. I’m just an observer and commentator. I saw true nobility in Paul as he fled into the desert with his pregnant mother. Of course, she was a great asset as well as a burden. Q: The flaw in you historians is that you’ll never leave well enough alone. You see true nobility in the Holy Muad’dib, but you must append a cynical footnote. It’s no wonder that the Bene Gesserit also denounce you.

A: You Priests do well to make common cause with the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. They, too, survive by concealing what they do. But they cannot conceal the fact that the Lady Jessica was a Bene Gesserit-trained adept. You know she trained her son in the sisterhood’s ways. My crime was to discuss this as a phenomenon, to expound upon their mental arts and their genetic program. You don’t want attention called to the fact that Muad’dib was the Sisterhood’s hoped for captive messiah, that he was their kwisatz haderach before he was your prophet.

Q: If I had any doubts about your death sentence, you have dispelled them.

A: I can only die once.

Q: There are deaths and there are deaths.

A: Beware lest you make a martyr of me. I do not think Muad’dib . . . Tell me, does Muad’dib know what you do in these dungeons?

Q: We do not trouble the Holy Family with trivia.

A: (Laughter) And for this Paul Atreides fought his way to a niche among the Fremen! For this he learned to control and ride the sandworm! It was a mistake to answer your questions.

Q: But I will keep my promise to preserve your words.

A: Will you really? Then listen to me carefully, you Fremen degenerate, you Priest with no god except yourself! You have much to answer for. It was a Fremen ritual which gave Paul his first massive dose of melange, thereby opening him to visions of his futures. It was a Fremen ritual by which that same melange awakened the unborn Alia in the Lady Jessica’s womb. Have you considered what it meant for Alia to be born into this universe fully cognitive, possessed of all her mother’s memories and knowledge? No rape could be more terrifying.

Q: Without the sacred melange Muad’dib would not have become leader of all Fremen. Without her holy experience Alia would not be Alia.

A: Without your blind Fremen cruelty you would not be a priest. Ahhh, I know you Fremen. You think Muad’dib is yours because he mated with Chani, because he adopted Fremen customs. But he was an Atreides first and he was trained by a Bene Gesserit adept. He possessed disciplines totally unknown to you. You thought he brought you new organization and a new mission. He promised to transform your desert planet into a water-rich paradise. And while he dazzled you with such visions, he took your virginity!

Q: Such heresy does not change the fact that the Ecological Transformation of Dune proceeds apace.

A: And I committed the heresy of tracing the roots of that transformation, of exploring the consequences. That battle out there on the Plains of Arrakeen may have taught the universe that Fremen could defeat Imperial Sardaukar, but what else did it teach? When the stellar empire of the Corrino Family became a Fremen empire under Muad’dib, what else did the Empire become? Your Jihad only took twelve years, but what a lesson it taught. Now, the Empire understands the sham of Muad’dib’s marriage to the Princess Irulan!

Q: You dare accuse Muad’dib of sham!

A: Though you kill me for it, it’s not heresy. The Princess became his consort, not his mate. Chani, his little Fremen darling—she’s his mate. Everyone knows this. Irulan was the key to a throne, nothing more.

Q: It’s easy to see why those who conspire against Muad’dib use your Analysis of History as their rallying argument!

A: I’ll not persuade you; I know that. But the argument of the conspiracy came before my Analysis. Twelve years of Muad’dib’s Jihad created the argument. That’s what united the ancient power groups and ignited the conspiracy against Muad’dib.

* * *

Such a rich store of myths enfolds Paul Muad’dib, the Mentat Emperor, and his sister, Alia, it is difficult to see the real persons behind these veils. But there were, after all, a man born Paul Atreides and a woman born Alia. Their flesh was subject to space and time. And even though their oracular powers placed them beyond the usual limits of time and space, they came from human stock. They experienced real events which left real traces upon a real universe. To understand them, it must be seen that their catastrophe was the catastrophe of all mankind. This work is dedicated, then, not to Muad’dib or his sister, but to their heirs—to all of us.

 

—DEDICATION IN THE MUAD’DIB CONCORDANCE AS COPIED FROM THE TABLA MEMORIUM OF THE MAHDI SPIRIT CULT

 

 

Muad’dib’s Imperial reign generated more historians than any other era in human history. Most of them argued a particular viewpoint, jealous and sectarian, but it says something about the peculiar impact of this man that he aroused such passions on so many diverse worlds.

Of course, he contained the ingredients of history, ideal and idealized. This man, born Paul Atreides in an ancient Great Family, received the deep prana-bindu training from the Lady Jessica, his Bene Gesserit mother, and had through this a superb control over muscles and nerves. But more than that, he was a mentat, an intellect whose capacities surpassed those of the religiously proscribed mechanical computers used by the ancients.

Above all else, Muad’dib was the kwisatz haderach which the Sisterhood’s breeding program had sought across thousands of generations.

The kwisatz haderach, then, the one who could be “many places at once,” this prophet, this man through whom the Bene Gesserit hoped to control human destiny—this man became Emperor Muad’dib and executed a marriage of convenience with a daughter of the Padishah Emperor he had defeated.

Think on the paradox, the failure implicit in this moment, for you surely have read other histories and know the surface facts. Muad’dib’s wild Fremen did, indeed, overwhelm the Padishah Shad-dam IV. They toppled the Sardaukar legions, the allied forces of the Great Houses, the Harkonnen armies and the mercenaries bought with money voted in the Landsraad. He brought the Spacing Guild to its knees and placed his own sister, Alia, on the religious throne the Bene Gesserit had thought their own.

He did all these things and more.

Muad’dib’s Qizarate missionaries carried their religious war across space in a Jihad whose major impetus endured only twelve standard years, but in that time, religious colonialism brought all but a fraction of the human universe under one rule.

He did this because capture of Arrakis, that planet known more often as Dune, gave him a monopoly over the ultimate coin of the realm—the geriatric spice, melange, the poison that gave life.

Here was another ingredient of ideal history: a material whose psychic chemistry unraveled Time. Without melange, the Sisterhood’s Reverend Mothers could not perform their feats of observation and human control. Without melange, the Guild’s Steersmen could not navigate across space. Without melange, billions upon billions of Imperial citizens would die of addictive withdrawal.

Without melange, Paul-Muad’dib could not prophesy.

We know this moment of supreme power contained failure. There can be only one answer, that completely accurate and total prediction is lethal.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
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Providential
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Messiah, maybe less Dune
Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2020
Messiah is a bit of a dividing book, but then again so are all the books that followed Frank Herbert''s Dune. Dune is an all-time sci-fi classic, unimpeachable thanks to its vast influence over other a broad range of media. Messiah? Not as much. What is Messiah... See more
Messiah is a bit of a dividing book, but then again so are all the books that followed Frank Herbert''s Dune. Dune is an all-time sci-fi classic, unimpeachable thanks to its vast influence over other a broad range of media. Messiah? Not as much.

What is Messiah about? Set 12 years after Dune, Messiah is about the world Paul-Muad''dib set in motion in the first book. You see the ramifications of his decisions, and you get quite a bit of pontificating about the nature of fate. Can the fortune-tellers of Dune really affect the future, or are they only catching glimpses of a destiny that already awaits them? That''s what this book is really about.

What makes Messiah different? Messiah takes the political subtext that was a big part of Dune, and elevates that aspect of the story until it nearly excludes the other portions. You''re not going to get the same big battles, the fascinating technology, the brand-new ecologies. A lot of fans of Dune were really into that book book because of those far-future technological aspects, so they find this book strangely lacking. In Messiah you get what is almost an alternate-universe political treatise with oblique only references to the technologies of the first book. It''s one part philosophy, one part politics, and really only a splash of far-future science fiction for flavor.

Is Messiah good? I think it''s so-so. At half the length of Dune, it''s certainly not as epic in scope. Dune was not slow in pace, so that page count really does mean something. Messiah is by comparison just a short treatise. It''s not bad, but it really doesn''t expand on the Dune universe in a way that I was hoping for. I love the politics, but Herbet really skimped on the rest of the book getting there. If you padded out this book to Dune''s length by inserting those action scenes back in, I might like it more. Repeatedly having characters wander from room to room pontificating while offhandedly mentioning the genocide of dozens of planets at a go does leave room for some exploration into that latter part of the story.

Is Messiah worth reading? I''m in the process of re-reading the Dune novels before the upcoming movie, so at the moment I''m solidly in the camp of saying it''s fine to stop with Dune. I have vague memories of Messiah and Children and Chapterhouse, and I found the whole thing underwhelming. People often say God Emperor is worth the trip, but having been so long since I read it and obviously since that book didn''t stick with me, I''m not sure I agree. Maybe my mood will change after going through the series again but from where I stand - either stop at Dune, or buckle in for the whole series. Messiah is definitely more along the lines of the rest of the series. There''s a lot of politics and philosophy ahead, so maybe that will help you decide if you want to go on.

Overall: Messiah is okay. There''s a reason people only talk about Dune, and not its sequel books. This is in stark contrast to something like Lord of the Rings, where people almost exclusively talk about the series (or at least the main trilogy) as a whole. Messiah isn''t bad, but it also differs from its predecessor in fundamental ways. There''s less action, less technology, and more philosophy. If that''s your bag, maybe Messiah is for you.
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Kim
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The unsettling decline of Dune''s "Messiah"
Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2019
First off, the cover art for this series is amazing. The colors and page-layout are perfect. The only thing that might be off-putting is that the sequels don''t match the same size as the first book. Maybe its because I bought the first book at Barnes and Noble? But the... See more
First off, the cover art for this series is amazing. The colors and page-layout are perfect. The only thing that might be off-putting is that the sequels don''t match the same size as the first book. Maybe its because I bought the first book at Barnes and Noble? But the smaller and more compact size is actually quite nice and feels like you''re breezing through pages faster.

What to say about Dune Messiah that hasn''t already been said? Well, it turns out Frank Herbert was making controversial decisions before George RR Martin. He takes the "messiah/heroic archetype" and flips it on top of its head. In a brilliant way, nothing happens the way you think it''s going to happen, not even for our protagonist, Paul Atreides. But wait, how is that possible? Paul Atreides, Muad''Dib, a trained mentat, the male equivalent to a Reverand Mother, the Kwisatz Haderach who can see endless possibilities, doesn''t have all the answers? This is why you should read Dune Messiah. It shows the internal struggle and isolation of a man (Paul) and his sister (Alia) being treated as god-like figures, but Frank Herbert does a great job reminding us that they''re still human, which makes them relatable and easy to empathize with.

The conspiracy surrounding Paul''s Imperium is most compelling, the thoughts and discoveries from our beloved characters are engaging, and the philosophy that Frank Herbert communicates through his story-telling is even more thought-provoking than the first book. Everything about this book just kept propelling me forward.

I found Dune Messiah to be a near-perfect sequel that greatly expounds on ideas that were introduced in the first book. But it also reveals many new ideas and teaches new things to the reader. One of the greatest joys I take from this series is how much I learn, and Frank Herbert has a lot to teach and expound upon through his characters. You''d be selling yourself short if you didn''t continue reading the series.
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Jeff F
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Difficult sequel.
Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2016
This first sequel to Dune is only about 330 pages long, but it''s still a dense and complex read. Dune Messiah picks up the story of Paul Maud''Dib 12 years after Dune, now the Emperor of the Known Universe- and as powerless as he ever. While a challenging read, Dune... See more
This first sequel to Dune is only about 330 pages long, but it''s still a dense and complex read. Dune Messiah picks up the story of Paul Maud''Dib 12 years after Dune, now the Emperor of the Known Universe- and as powerless as he ever. While a challenging read, Dune Messiah lacks the narrative drive of its predecessor, since there is no longer compelling villains like the Harkonnens to help propel the story forward and keep things moving. Plot threads and characters from the original that were implied to be of great importance in the future only warrant a brief mention or are totally ignored; likewise, Dune Messiah continues Herbert''s tendency from the original to not depict major events or plot twists, but leave them only to discussion after the fact The original Dune, for all its thematic complexity, was still a fairly straightforward "hero leads a rebellion against evil villains" tale; in the sequel, there is a conspiracy in place against Paul Maud''Dib, but the novel spends more time on philosophical discussion than it does on investigating and unmasking this conspiracy. There is, however, a lengthy section of the novel about 2/3 of the way through, which sees the main character going out in disguise among the people, deliberately walking into a trap, and fully aware of how events will proceed due to his unique prescient abilities - this section alone is some of the finest crafted storytelling I''ve ever read, and it alone resuscitated the novel. (Or awakened the Sleeper, if you''re a hardcore Dune fan.) Dune Messiah is a quick read, despite the denseness of the work. It''s still worth reading, but at times it feels more like an epilogue to a more compelling story that preceded it. (Think less Empire Strikes Back and more Scouring of the Shire from Lord of the Rings.)
89 people found this helpful
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KEVIN M. OCONNOR
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Dense Work that doesn''t reveal all of its secrets in one Reading
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2018
I read the first novel in 1984. Not sure why I didn''t jump right into the second back then. Now I''ve read the second novel. I had a rough idea of where the plot would go from watching the Children of Dune miniseries on SyFy, but of course, the series couldn''t touch the... See more
I read the first novel in 1984. Not sure why I didn''t jump right into the second back then. Now I''ve read the second novel. I had a rough idea of where the plot would go from watching the Children of Dune miniseries on SyFy, but of course, the series couldn''t touch the intellectual content of the original source material. In the forward, the author''s son tells the reader that many people were disappointed by this first sequel when it was first published, and I can understand why. Paul seems to have achieved total victory at the end of the first novel. In the opening pages of the sequel we see that his reign is anything but benevolent, and by the end of the novel all we can really say is that things could have gone worse for the "hero" of the first book. We certainly didn''t get any kind of repeat of the unqualified happy ending of the first installment.

Still, I really enjoyed it. My only complaint is that the author never made it really clear why Paul was powerless to stop the galactic jihad being waged in his name. If anyone can point me to any scholarship on this, I would be grateful.
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fox
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Difficult to read at times
Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2021
If Dune was 5 stars then even 2 stars is generous for this installment in the series. More than 2/3 of this book was just characters repetitively musing about the foreseen future (and I do mean repetitively, repetitively, repetitively, repetitively) and/or spewing political... See more
If Dune was 5 stars then even 2 stars is generous for this installment in the series. More than 2/3 of this book was just characters repetitively musing about the foreseen future (and I do mean repetitively, repetitively, repetitively, repetitively) and/or spewing political and religious views of the author. I felt like I wasn''t so much reading a story as being held captive while the author shoved his ideology down my throat. There were some good parts, though. Any time Duncan Idaho was the main point of focus the story became interesting. I guess that''s because these were the only times an actual story was being told. After slogging through the first 1/2 of the book I found myself scrolling through all the political and philosophical diatribe until Duncan popped up again and I assure I felt like I missed absolutely nothing in terms of plot development. Nice twist at the end and thankfully the book was quite short. I''ve read reviews for the next books in the series and it seems like the author commits even further to abandoning story telling in favor of preaching about politics and religion. So for me, I will be forever grateful for Dune and not totally upset about Messiah (I think it''s worth reading, if only to get closure on characters from the first book and not feel like I''m missing out by not going further in the series) but this is where I''ll stop. I buy Sci fi books for the interesting stories. These books would be better classified under politics and religion.
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Bryan DesmondTop Contributor: Dragon Ball Z (TV Show)
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
He will become one with the desert. The desert will fulfill him.
Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2019
Dune Messiah is an inevitability. It is the necessary byproduct of the swirling events of the original novel. It is the ruin bred of the marrying of religion and government under one mythic, all-seeing leader. Muad''dib''s Jihad is a thing of recent memory; it raged under the... See more
Dune Messiah is an inevitability. It is the necessary byproduct of the swirling events of the original novel. It is the ruin bred of the marrying of religion and government under one mythic, all-seeing leader. Muad''dib''s Jihad is a thing of recent memory; it raged under the Atreides black and green for twelve years. The Jihad is past, but its effects are not. When destiny meets terrible purpose. When myth meets man and all is swept away in the name of righteousness. When the future reveals itself to you.. can you change it? Can you do anything when the eddies of Time grip you, other than cling for dear life and hope the path you''ve chosen was the right one?

Twelve years after the Jihad began, it comes to an end. But rampant unrest throughout the universal Empire is just beginning to brew. Concealed conspiracies against the deified Muad''dib.. there are those who crave the old days, the old ways of the desert.

Dune Messiah is a worthy successor. From the very first chapter the feeling of the novel is instilled in the reader; plans within plans within plans. Right away we are witness to pieces of Herbert''s universe that we have never seen, or were perhaps only mentioned in the first novel. Guild Navigators. Tleilaxu Face Dancers. Wallach IX. There is a heady sense that there is much more to discover here; that we can go deeper. And I think at least part of the reason I enjoyed this read so much was that I already knew and was accepting of the fact that do not witness Paul''s Jihad. It''s a skipped piece of story. Knowing this ahead of time, I was no longer so put off by its absence. I was able to enjoy the sequel for what it is, rather than what I though it should have been. It''s a brilliant piece of writing. Frank''s prowess is on full display in all sorts of conversational interplay, merciless statecraft, and deep, insightful characterization. Herbert''s characters are phenomenal; be the new ones like Scytale, or old like Paul and Alia. Paul''s development in Dune Messiah is every bit as interesting as in Dune, as he wrestles internally with all that his Empire, and his Oracle, has wrought.
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RDDTop Contributor: Batman
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Expands Upon the Original''s Themes
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2019
Frank Herbert’s “Dune Messiah” begins twelve years after the events of “Dune,” with Paul “Muad’Dib” Atreides ruling as Emperor and having accepted his role of messiah to the Fremen. As a result of this, he began his own jihad and has conquered most of the universe. The Bene... See more
Frank Herbert’s “Dune Messiah” begins twelve years after the events of “Dune,” with Paul “Muad’Dib” Atreides ruling as Emperor and having accepted his role of messiah to the Fremen. As a result of this, he began his own jihad and has conquered most of the universe. The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, and the Tleilaxu begin a conspiracy to usurp Paul’s power, with Bene Gesserit Reverand Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim enlisting the aid of Princess Irulan, Paul’s consort through whom he legally claims the throne, although he refuses to unite their houses by having a child with her, nor does he treat her with any kind of warmth. Instead, Paul wants his offspring to be Fremen, born from his love for his concubine Chani. Irulan is secretly giving Chani contraceptives to prevent this, but Chani switches her diet, thereby eliminating Irulan’s ability to poison her food.

Paul finds his prescience muddled by the acts of a Guild Navigator, while his sister, whom the Fremen revere as a goddess, likewise finds her abilities limited due to the introduction and popularity of tarot, which creates too many variables in peoples’ decisions. Duncan Idaho, who died in the previous novel, returns in the form of a ghola duplicate manufactured by the Tleilaxu to gain access to Paul and further direct his acts. Learning that Fremen may be involved in the conspiracy, Paul goes to investigate, but is blinded by an atomic weapon the conspirators use to cover their tracks. From that point on, he walks in prophecy trying to navigate the variables to the best future.

Much of this story serves to set up future events, while continuing the themes of ecological science-fiction and Orientalism that characterized the previous book. The connections between “Dune Messiah” and its sequel, “Children of Dune,” led the Sci-Fi Channel to combine the two into a single miniseries in 2003 while the Science Fiction Book Club published the two books in one volume in 2002. Those who thoroughly enjoyed the tone and themes of Herbert’s first novel will enjoy this follow-up.
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J. L. GribbleTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Different from Dune, but continues a fascinating journey through this immersive galaxy
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2018
Picking up a sequel 13 years after reading the first book should have made the book completely inaccessible. However, a quick trip through the Dune Wikipedia entry and I was ready to go. So ready, in fact, that I devoured this book in 2 days, whereas I remember Dune taking... See more
Picking up a sequel 13 years after reading the first book should have made the book completely inaccessible. However, a quick trip through the Dune Wikipedia entry and I was ready to go. So ready, in fact, that I devoured this book in 2 days, whereas I remember Dune taking closer to 2 weeks. 

I also remember, while reading the first installment in this series, needing to have a glass of water with me the entire time I read -- and feeling incredibly guilty for every sip I took. The sequel created less of an immersive feel, but the world-building is still insanely detailed. A touch inaccessible a times, but showing how well Herbert knows his world(s) and doling out information only as the reader needs it.

For an epic science-fantasy, there was a lot of sitting around and talking in this book. But when the talking is about managing a world-spanning galactic invasion and a conspiracy to destroy that invasion from within, the lack of "traditional" action is never felt. Things still end with a bang (literally), as the tensions mount and mount.

I definitely understand why this book was combined with its sequel when SyFy made its second miniseries. However, as much as I love that miniseries, I also found that I thoroughly enjoyed the philosophical meanderings in this book about what it means to be a man -- and a god. I''m very glad that I read this, even over a decade after my introduction to Herbert''s amazing universe.
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Top reviews from other countries

Dast
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very disapointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2019
I loved the first book "Dune", but this sequel is terrible. In the first book our characters did things and made decisions. Some turned out well. This is the basic structure of a story. In this book our main protagonist can see the future, he spends the entire book refusing...See more
I loved the first book "Dune", but this sequel is terrible. In the first book our characters did things and made decisions. Some turned out well. This is the basic structure of a story. In this book our main protagonist can see the future, he spends the entire book refusing to do anything at all (apart from be sad about what is going to happen) because he can see that doing something to protect himself from the bad stuff that is coming will make it worse. No explanation (other than "he can see the future") is ever offered for why acting in his own defence would make things worse. We spent the entire book waiting for the thing every character knows is coming to happen (but of course the audience is left in the dark about what is comming). Then not much happens. If you liked "Dune" then show it the respect it deserves, by never touching this horrid sequel.
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AdamH
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read this immediately after Dune
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2019
This second book in the Dune trilogy polarises people. I confess when I first read this back in 1979 about a year after reading Dune for the first time I didn''t particularly like it because it is very different, yes same characters, locations etc.. but the story line is not...See more
This second book in the Dune trilogy polarises people. I confess when I first read this back in 1979 about a year after reading Dune for the first time I didn''t particularly like it because it is very different, yes same characters, locations etc.. but the story line is not the same fast paced action and eventual results you hope for for the main character Paul. Having now just read Dune again 40 years later immediately followed by Dune Messiah I now get it, it can''t be the same as Dune as it wouldn''t work as a book. Dune is about change and the excitement of that happening, Messiah is about the consequences of that change and having to deal with the awful reality of it all, so its a bit bleak at times but reading it straight away after Dune was important to me as it felt like the conclusion to Paul''s Dune experience. Do I like it, sort of, well maybe but it makes sense and anything is difficult to compare with Dune so I guess I do like it.
8 people found this helpful
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John
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Typos
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 4, 2019
New edition from 2018/2019 by Hodder publishing contains typos which is a disgrace for such a book. I love the story, but the publisher made mistakes which shouldnt be accepted by any professional
8 people found this helpful
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carl blanchard
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Intricate World Building
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2020
I''ll be honest, for someone who loves sci-fi films, I''m not traditionally a huge fan of sci-fi novels, usually favouring horror. Lately though, I''ve read a few, Adrian Tchaikovsky being a highlight. But I''ve also read Dune and Dune Messiah and both books had me hooked. The...See more
I''ll be honest, for someone who loves sci-fi films, I''m not traditionally a huge fan of sci-fi novels, usually favouring horror. Lately though, I''ve read a few, Adrian Tchaikovsky being a highlight. But I''ve also read Dune and Dune Messiah and both books had me hooked. The characters are interesting and the plot compelling, but it''s the world-building that stands out for me and the attention to detail. Hopefully, the upcoming film by Denis Villeneuve will do it justice.
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Cathal Drohan
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Typos every 3/4 pages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 20, 2021
The story is rather slow, and the supporting characters are not as interesting as in the first Dune novel. However despite being slow in plot and pacing, Herbert spends a lot of time exploring Pauls thoughts and psyche. For this I would give the book 3 stars. However I have...See more
The story is rather slow, and the supporting characters are not as interesting as in the first Dune novel. However despite being slow in plot and pacing, Herbert spends a lot of time exploring Pauls thoughts and psyche. For this I would give the book 3 stars. However I have to further rate it down due to the number of typos and grammatical errors in the 2017 Hodder & Stoughton publication edition that I received. Every 3/4 pages there is a misspelling, punctuation missing, etc. These would normally be only a small gripe, but due to the frequency which they occur they started taking me out of the story as I couldnt help but notice them. For such a large publishing company such as Hodder, this is really not good enough.
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