Opening line: ‘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.’
Twelve years after the close of Dune, Paul Atreides’s empire spans across a multitude of worlds. He has stolen power from the old sources of power: the Guild, the Bene Gesserit, and the Bene Tleilax, and now they conspire against him. The very forces that caused his rise to power might be his undoing. Paul, and his sister Alia, with their gifts of prescience try to see into the future to outsmart their foes.
Dune Messiah matched the tone and pacing of the first book so well that it felt like I was more than picking up the next instalment of the series, but reading the next two hundred or so pages of the first book. The world (or universe, I should say) that Herbert creates is incredibly complex. There is political intrigue, religious fanaticism; the scope is huge, cosmic. The problem this runs into, of course, is that the reader gets no real sense of how the emperor’s decisions are actually felt by his people. I also wanted to see more of Paul and Alia’s motivations and thoughts on the religious element — more than just showing how having a religion centred around them makes them both jaded about religion in general. I suppose I want to know the why and how Paul created his new empire, instead of just being told that he did and here’s what happens next. And though I know the universe is very complicated and that Herbert couldn’t possibly fit it all into one book, I would have liked to have at least heard of the Bene Tleilax before Dune Messiah. Even so, I enjoyed reading more about Paul and Alia and look forward to picking up the next book in the series soon.