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Dune Messiah cover Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Published by Ace Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Dune Messiah carries on the Atredies saga that began in Dune. At the end of that novel, all seemed to have ended well. Paul had triumphed over the Harkonnen tyrants, the Fremen would finally be able to realize their dream of transforming Arrakis, and the corrupt Corrino emperor had fallen.

When the second novel opens, those seeming triumphs have instead proved tragic. The Fremen have gone on a terrible new Jihad that laid planets waste. Paul himself is a prisoner of his own prescient abilities, unable to break free of the futures he foresees and not really trying. His sister Alia is becoming stranger and stranger as the distortions born of her unusual origin manifest themselves.

Those who lost power in Paul's rise now plot against him. His own wife, Princess Irulan, has no love for him or the political marriage that was forced upon her, and in hopes of striking against Paul's beloved Fremen concubine Chani she joins the plotters.

As part of the plot, the mysterious and devious Tlielaxu have reanimated the corpse of Paul's slain follower Duncan Idaho. This ghola has life but none of the memories of his former self, and has been renamed Hayt. Within his mind lurks a deadly secret.

Like a whirlwind, all these factors come relentlessly together in an effort to destroy Paul. The greatest factor may not be so much whether he can avoid it, but whether he can shake himself free of his fatalism to do so.

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This review posted May 20, 1999

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