God Emperor of Dune
- Frank Herbert (author)
- Original language:
- Ace Books
- Novel and science fiction
- Dune (4/6)
- Publication year:
- Original publication year:
Set approximately 3,500 years after the events of the previous book, Children of Dune, Leto II Atreides, now known as the God Emperor (among other titles), has almost completely transformed into a worm, and has set himself up as the emperor of the known universe. His subjects see him as a god, although it's unclear what Leto himself thinks of this. In any event, his copious consumption of the drug melange, coupled with his ability to consult the multitudes inside himself (basically, all his ancestors, both male and female), gives him near-precient vision of the future. So at least as far as his subjects are concerned, he's as near to a god as they can conceive.
Leto rules his empire through fear, intimidation, and bouts of violence. The Great Houses and the Landsraad are all but gone, interstellar travel is forbidden, and Leto has hoarded virtually all the spice in the universe for himself, which he doles out to the remaining factions (Bene Gesserit, Tleilaxu, Ixians, etc.) every ten years, according to whim. He has created the organization of the Fish Speakers, an all-female army who serve him unquestioningly. (The strange name refers to the Fish Speakers' ability to speak to fish in their dreams. Go figure.)
The entirety of the novel is set on the planet Arrakis (now a lush planet, except for a small patch of desert where Leto lives in his Citadel), and almost all the chapters are told from the perspective of Leto, or people close to Leto.
This novel is a real page-turner, and the plot is pretty easy to follow, although much of the dialog is pretty heady, so you need to pay close attention when reading. It's not as heavy in world-building as the previous novels, which to me was a relief, not because I don't enjoy that (I very much do!), but because it's difficult to keep it all straight in your head.
In the end I got a little bit tired with how much time the novel spends with the main character, Leto, who is really unlikable, but I think this was the point of this novel: To really get a good look inside the head of a tyrant.
All in all, I can really recommend this novel, but you should definitely read the previous ones first!
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