Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
Dune MessiahTwelve years earlier, Paul Atreidies became the emperor of the planet Dune and the known universe. His enemies are seeking ways to bring about his downfall. The Bene Jesserit want to depose him and his sister, Alia, yet carry on the gene pool. A plot is hatched that includes his political wife, Irilan, a highly trained Bene Jesserit. A face dancer, or shape shifter, and a Guild navigator who is outside of Paul’s vision are also included in the plan.
Paul, also known as M’uab Dib, and his mate, Channi, have not had a child since the first son they had was killed during his uprising. He and the Fremen now rule the skyways and planets. He needs an heir, and allows only Channi to be his heir’s mother. His prescience sees many futures, but some things stay constant.
One event he cannot predict is the return of his teacher and mentor, Duncan Idaho. Idaho’s body was cryogenically stored after his death and has been brought back to life as a T’Laxu gaola. He looks and sounds like Idaho except for the metal eyes. He has special new training that help him stay truthful and logical. He is a gift to Paul, and is able to tell the emperor that his purpose is to destroy M’uab Dib and his holdings. But he does not know how he is to be used as a weapon. Paul takes Duncan into his household despite the danger.
Of the first three Dune novels, this is my least favorite. As I was rereading it, I remember why. It is not due to the writing or the story. It is instead due to the uneasy feelings the book gives me when I read about all the different plots discussed to bring down M’uab Dib. His enemies are willing to try almost any avenue for his and Alia’s destruction while retaining their genes. I have inward shudders throughout this book each time I read it. Yes, it is an excellent book and is needed to set up the next one, Children of Dune.