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God Emperor of Dune coverGod Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Published by Ace Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Over three thousand years have passed since Leto underwent his transformation in Children of Dune. The sandtrout skin has given him endless life, but over that time it has also metamorphosed him into a strange wormlike creature. His legs have atrophied into tiny flippers, while his face is shrouded by veils of melange-impregnated tissue.

In those three millenia Leto has brought peace to warring humanity, a peace brutally enforced by his army of women warrior-priestesses, the Fish Speakers. Pardot Kynes' dream of transforming Arrakis has been realized so fully that there remains only a single fragment of desert, the tame Sareer. However, many curse him as a tyrant for his heavy-handed policies.

There are other political factors for the hatred against him. The sandworms are no more, and melange has become more precious with every passing year. Like a dragon upon his hoard, Leto controls the majority of the spice reserves, and doles them out with a small spoon, using it as a leash to control the other elements of society. Many have plotted against him in hopes of breaking his stranglehold on power, but none have succeeded.

Into this mix comes Siona, a distant relative of Leto with far more personal reasons to hate the ancient ruler of humanity. She also has an inside track to the Tyrant, being the daughter of his major-domo. However, if she is to free humanity of Leto's tyranny, she must first free herself of some misconceptions she does not even realize she carries.

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This review posted May 20, 1999

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