Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
Children of DuneMu’ab Dib disappeared into the desert ten years ago. Now his sister, Alia, rules Arrakis and the empire. His twin children, Leto II and Ghanima, were born with the same awareness of the lives of their ancestors that Alia has, and have elder minds in the bodies of children. Everyone around them tends to forget that the outside package doesn’t reflect the inside.
Now Dune (Arrakis) is reaching a critical point. Alia’s past voices have been overpowering her. The Lady Jessica is coming to see Alia and the twins, her grandchildren. Alia is afraid of the Bene Jesserit teachings the Lady also follows. A blind Fremen has appeared from the desert and calls himself the Preacher. He proclaims a need to return to the old ways. Even Dune itself is changing to a moist, green planet under the ecological changes being wrought on it.
Only Ghanima and Leto are truly aware of what is happening. They also know they are pawns in a game of power and breeding. They realize there are plots throughout the Empire to bring down the House Atreides and their stranglehold on the spice. With their self-awareness they can foresee numerous possibilities for the future that could be disastrous. She and he have to find the path that will save themselves, their family, the Empire, and ultimately, Dune itself.
There are books that haunt the reader long after they are put down. Children of Dune is one of those books. Herbert uses strong characters, believable situations, and a strong knowledge of human interactions to bring this together. The reader is pulled right along as Herbert takes us through the next phase of Dune’s future.
The politics in Children of Dune are fascinating. The whole book is basically about politics and the ruling of an empire of people, but the reader tends to forget that. Instead, the reader is too busy soaking in the story itself. There are plots, subplots, attacks, and feints throughout, so that the final solution is terrifying and gratifying at the same time. It is a superb follow-up to the first and even better novel in the series, Dune.