Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #3)

ISBN: 0441104029
ISBN 13: 9780441104024
By: Frank Herbert

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The desert planet of Arrakis has begun to grow green and lush. The life-giving spice is abundant. The nine-year-old royal twins, possesing their father's supernatural powers, are being groomed as Messiahs. But there are those who think the Imperium does not need messiahs...

Reader's Thoughts

Daniel Stafford

Feint within feint; plot within plot; backstabbing within backstabbing… These elements make up the driven words of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune. It was very difficult for me to put this book down. Where the first book of Dune was fascinating in plot, structure, and form, Children of Dune read like a tabloid and political manifesto joined together as one. I say tabloid because it is filled with political back-stabbing and musings into, "who is Alia sleeping with now?" And, "is Paul, our religious leader/God, really dead?"The other thing kept happening were plans…lot and lots of plans that everyone had for each other and would be thwarted due to ill-perceived actions and rumors as to an enemy's next move. So much of the political meanderings were saturated with guesswork due to paranoia of how the next betrayal would go.It was fun! It was fascinating just to "watch" all of these people in great positions of power lose themselves. It was an anarchist's wet dream! Well…the dream lasted until the end when it all goes a certain way, in a manner that was predicted early in the book.I would love to read more, especially to see what happens to the Empire after Leto II's rein of power. But, alas, we all have heard the rumors: the rest of the Dune books are simply a waste of time.I suppose I shall see.

Richard Houchin

The Dune series is remarkable in that each sequel gets progressively worse until it's unreadable. The first book is truly excellent. It's mantra on fear alone makes it great. The second book a very good sci-fi novel. The third book is merely okay.The fourth book is sub-par, but still interesting.The fifth book is a pain in the ass to read.The sixth book will leave you concerned about the author's health, so terribad is the writing.But hey, the first book kicks ass!


Paul Atreides is presumed dead, and his sister Alia reigns as regent in his place. Leto and Ghanima, the twins who were born at the end of Dune Messiah, are to be the new rulers when they come of age, but their lives are marred by dangerous political intrigue, superstition, and suspicion. Like Alia, they were born with the conscious memories of all of their forbears, and think and act like adults despite being only ten years old. Are they, as the Bene Gesserit believe, Abominations? Or do they hold the keys to the salvation of Arrakkis (and perhaps the universe)?If you enjoy novels where it is easy to decide which characters to like and trust and which ones are evil, this is definitely not for you. There are wheels within wheels, and characters who were likable in previous volumes may turn out to be direst enemies. On the other hand, if you're a fan of political intrigues and ruthless characters and fascinating meditations on the intersection of religion and politics, this will be right up your alley. Reading this series is a bit like getting wrapped up in the BBC production of "I, Claudius."


Obviously this book is not as good as the first two in Frank Herbert's series. It has definite failings, including a tendency to meander into overcomplicated musing on the nature of prescience. Maybe it's just me; perhaps I'm bored of the whole prescience thing. I was hoping for something different, something new, which Frank Herbert could unleash his genius upon.Taken as a whole with the previous to books, I find the plot to Children of Dune somewhat contrived. After Dune I was really smitten with the idea of a greener Arrakis. But behold! Here comes the children to dash away Lyet-Kynes dreams as if it were a sandcastle. Apparently a green Arrakis isn't good enough for the Fremen: they must be made to suffer the /desert/. Either the author is trying to allude to a similar situation in our own society with its lack of traditional, harsh environmental pressures to "naturally select," or maybe he found that without an arid, desolate Arrakis, the Dune series is kind of hard to sell.Besides somewhat of a reliance on deus ex machina for the solution to the conflict, Children of Dunes is a solid novel: it is nearly as entertaining as the first two books and, as is to be expected from Frank Herbert, encompasses a wide scope of human dilemmas. From a personal standpoint I think I would have liked to have concluded the series with the second book. Children of Dune seems to be more of a starting point for another series of Dune books than a conclusion to a trilogy.


The classic biblical conundrum - are the sins of the father really inherited by the son? Yes, CoD went a lot further in analyzing religion and society than the previous book which I found interesting, but more interesting was the current day metaphor with society's "progress" without regard to the costs involved. Who is going to pay for our excesses today, and how will they go about fixing them?The Preacher seemed a powerful figure at the beginning of the story, but by the end I almost felt sorry for the old guy. Leto striking out to redress the mistakes of both his father's and aunt's reigns looks to be an interesting story I'll enjoy following. I can't say I agree with his views that he will bring an era of thousands of years of peace, but it will be interesting to watch him try. CoD is not something to be read lightly as you can get through several pages and realize you are completely lost. I've found myself rereading sections quite a bit. On that thought, I'm going to take a break for a little bit before continuing the series as I find it to be somewhat exhausting.


A Masterpiece Revisited: --- Why review a book in 2007 which originally came out nearly a half-century ago? Because I just reread it this week, and now I remember why it has always been my favorite of all the Dune books. In the unlikely event that you don't already know the story, herewith a very brief plot summary: About ten thousand years from now, on a planet that used to be an almost-uninhabitable desert but which is now slowly turning green, two nine-year-old children, a boy and a girl-- twins-- set about to rescue this world from the well-intentioned but disastrous consequences of their father's changes to its climate and government. Aided and abetted by that father himself, in disguise, this attempt at reworking history and changing the future, by in some sense changing the past, surmounts nearly countless pitfalls to set humanity on a Golden Path which will hopefully result in a philosophical paradise for meaningful growth and life. It's a far-from-perfect book, just as the entire series contains some dreadful flaws, but the series has become so classic, in spite of its flaws, that the only possible rating is the full five stars. Especially since, as stated, this is my favorite of the whole pile. The titular youngsters are Pre-Born. That is, they have almost since the moment of conception and long before birth come to full awareness not only of their own personalities but of every ancestor who ever preceded them, all the way back to ancient Greece on the original home planet. It's a real struggle to keep from going insane with all of that consciousness swimming around inside their heads constantly, and in fact their dad's sister, also Pre-Born, has succumbed to the lure of madness. But that's the least of their worries. The primary concern they have to face is the fact that in order to carry out their plan for the Golden Path, one of them is going to have to give up their humanity, to become something alien, nearly immortal, nearly all-powerful, without forgetting all of that humanity they carry around inside them all the time. Quite a daunting task! In the fourth book [God Emperor of Dune] we will learn that the transformation doesn't go quite as planned, but for now, here in the third book, it goes pretty nearly as intended, and the results are riveting. One of the many problems of this book is the inability of most readers to picture nine-year-old children with the insights, knowledge, and power that these two have. [When this book was turned into the final two thirds of an extended miniseries of the same title on the SciFi channel, this issue was circumvented by making the kids nearly-adult teenagers, played by adult actors, which made it much more palatable to most of the audience.] If you're willing to suspend disbelief in that regard, which I have always been, the story line works remarkably well, especially if you have already read the first two books in the series where you can see a foreshadowing of at least half of the plot of this one coming at you through the sands like a gigantic worm, ready to devour you. But wait, he won't eat you if you're related to him! And thereby hangs a fantastic tale.


** spoiler alert ** I think this was the best of the Dune books by far. I loved the idea of the twins being a little like paul and a little like Alia only not victims of their unique traits. At least in this book they are not as much victims as both Paul and Alia. The most facinating thing about this book were the plans within plans within plans. For most of the book I had no idea where the author was going but couldn't wait to find out. The tests and torment that Leto II had to go through at Jakurutu (sp?) were very intriquing. I loved how Frank described the Spice Trance that Leto II was so afraid of. Also in this book is the crumbling romance of Duncan Idaho the golah and Alia. You see a love that could have really worked and man who truly loved a woman get ripped apart. Alia literally becomes someone else and when Duncan discovers who she's been possessed by it is the worst insult that could be imagined. Duncan also dies in an interesting way in this book. I think this was the book where I really started to like Duncan more than any other Dune character. I was very surprised by the ending of this book and what was revealed by the characaters' intentions. I only wish the author had developed the character Ganima more. It was heavily focused on Leto II. Even though I liked that character it almost seemed too much about him when his sister could have been just as interesting rather than just a plot device character. Overall I consider this book worth reading.


”I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.I will face my fear.I will permit it to pass over me and through me.And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain." If you have read at least Dune you must be familiar with the above “Litany Against Fear”. I don’t know about you but it gets old very fast for me. When it shows up in Children of Dune I read it like “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” – SHUT UP! Fortunately it only appears once but Mr. Herbert still sneaks in the odd snippet here and there whenever I am feeling too complacent.To my mind the Dune series really finishes with this third volume. It ties up all the loose ends nicely and ends on an optimistic and suitably poignant note. Come to think of it the very first Dune novel feels very complete within itself, and you could read it as one of the greatest standalone sci-fi novels of all time (or one of the most overrated if it doesn’t do it for you).So the Atreides are at it again with their mystical shenanigan. These Atreides are so damn verbose 24/7, I swear none of them is capable of speaking like a normal person. I can not imagine how they say “pass the salt” at dinner without mentioning the cosmic ramifications should the salt passing project not be successfully concluded. That said Children of Dune is actually quite an entertaining read, much more so than Dune Messiah which often had a soporific effect on me when I was reading it. Children of Dune focuses on the two Atreides kids, Leto and Ghanima (or non-kids because their heads are stuffed full of their ancestors’ memories and it makes them super weird). Their father, the legendary Paul Atreides A.K.A. Muad’Dib walked off into the sunset of the Arrakis desert nine years ago, very pissed off about what the world has come to thanks to his leadership. He is now presumed dead as the Dune desert is deadly and not conducive to a pleasant stroll after dinner.The planet Arrakis has come a long way since we first encountered it in Dune the terraforming project is going well and water is more abundant with plants appearing in some areas, other areas of the global desert is becoming moist. Rains and clouds are often seen and early in the novel eight Fremen drown in a flashflood. When you have a culture based on the scarcity of water this development really turns the world upside down. The cultural and social ramifications of Arrakis becoming more watery are the most fascinating aspect of the book for me.The book starts off slowly (as most books do) with the introduction of the Atreides twins and ambles along pleasantly enough. At almost exactly the half way point Mr. Herbert suddenly shifts gears and the novel becomes much more plot intensive and relatively fast paced. Exciting things are certainly afoot in the second half the the novel; featuring a murder plot involving tigers, a possession that makes you fat, the birth of a sort of Duneman superhero and many spoilerish things that I won’t mention (probably said too much already – sorry!).All in all a fun read, there is plenty of subtexts and philosophy to think about if you want to (I had my brain switched off, it’s my standard mode). The theme of religion and fanaticism is ever present. I don’t know if I will go on to read God Emperor of Dune and the subsequent volumes. I am afraid of coming across the Litany Against Fear again.


Man, I keep reading these things cause I hear number four is pretty f'd up in an entertaining way, but after this one I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible for Herbert to write an entertaining book. Well, won't that be egg on my face...Also: You know how when you read any given fiction, no matter the quality, you manage to find one character who you like/can emphasize with/who you're sort of rooting for to not get totally screwed over by whatever's happening. Man, not the Dune books. I came to realize in reading this one that if I turned a page and it said "And then a giant Sandworm ate everyone, everywhere, everywhen because time is a singular point that human perception must move beyond in order to assume the greater nonassumption of perpetual Bene Gesserit Golden Path fear is the mindkiller blah blah blah the end" I really wouldn't have cared at all and instead felt minor relief, if also some disappointment that the f'd up events of the fourth book no longer existed and I'd wasted my time.

Andrew Georgiadis

The anti-George Lucas. Frank Herbert, that is. His science fiction universe has come to embody everything that another seminal epic of our time, “Star Wars,” cannot: subtlety and mystery. “Children of Dune” is the third installment in the series and centers on the vicissitudes of a power struggle involving Paul Atreides’ sister and his children. This in a vacuum created by Muad’Dib since his disappearance into the desert at the end of the second novel, “Dune Messiah.” Arrakis will ever be the story’s home, but the increasing excursions made to other worlds like Salusa Secundus and Tleilax whet our appetite for myriad unexplored corners of this galaxy. That is to say: Herbert’s universe is even larger than ever. He is the anti-Lucas because to experience the world of Dune is to live in the thought-bubbles of its characters, constantly reading one another’s expressions, trying desperately to interpret nonverbal cues of zen-like figures like mentats and Bene Gesserit “witches,” wherein plots and schemes and indignation (the silent kind) abound. Noticeably absent are staccato, declarative descriptions of landscape, weaponry, technology, conflict, combat, or physical features and their like. Conversation and thought are the rivulets that feed every facet of the “Dune” universe, and that universe seems even larger because of the vast expanses unmentioned.Take, for example, the Lady Jessica’s travels to Salusa Secundus, a rare deviation from the political plotting and religious fervor of Arrakis. We are treated to none of the tired and typical expositions expected. We are not told how Salusa looks from space; what the travel involved to reach it; how many people live there; what differentiates its character from other worlds; its climate; its people; its proximity to Arrakis; its size; what city Jessica is in; we are not privy to innumerable things, rather getting to unpack it all under the auspices of our own imaginings. As a result, “Children of Dune” expands the Dune universe by an order of magnitude. I cannot help contradistinguishing this incredible style to the mundane plodding to which it might have easily fallen prey in more ordinary hands.To say much of the plot of “Children of Dune” is to drain it of a beauty and mystery exclusive to your own mind’s eye. Its protagonists (admittedly not wholly protagonistic) are nine year-olds. They function with physical and mental prowess that could never be translated to the silver or small screens, and thus they belong entirely to you, to be made your own, as much as Arrakis and Salusa and Tleilax are yours. Herbert’s trust in Dune readers allows for something of the numinous.


See for the full text of the book I wrote about Herbert.While I truly believe Frank's story that he envisioned the three books as a whole from the beginning, I found this one to be much less compelling than the first two.After this, they were all hack work for money. If you liked the Dune books and want other Herbert, I recommend The Santaroga Barrier and Under Pressure. A few of the others had some good ideas, but were much less compelling as stories.

Josh Cutting

** spoiler alert ** This is when I officially gave up on the Herbertverse. This was awful!!! I really do not care for the children of Mu A'dib, they're both creepy and way too articulate (kind of like Dakota Fanning) I was actually rooting for the assassins the entire book. And when the kid smears worm larvae on himself and becomes a god!?!!?!!?! Sorry folks, I checked out. I don't even care how the rest of the saga works out. No God Emperor of Dune for me, no Heretics, stop this universe, I want to get off!

Bob R Bogle

I'm no genre-ist.What is a genre anyway? An abstract concept, not a real object or a physical thing. It's a meme pushed on the public and deployed as a precision marketing tool for cutting up segments of consumers of the written word into narrow categories. This facilitates the targeted selling of narrowly-defined flavors of books to customers conditioned to remain within their narrow pigeonholes. Like dropping smart bombs on selected communities target-rich with disposable income. Do you think it's natural for human beings to claim they're "into YA, steampunk and dystopia?" The anti-artistic genre-centric commercial infrastructure inevitably does damage to the creative process by squeezing writers into imagination-damped niches and effectively blocking readers from discovering wonderful new works which happen to not fall within their self-imposed bins of preference. Enormous hordes of ravenous readers nowadays, for example, would never even think of sinking so low as to wander near the science fiction stacks at the library or bookstore, no matter that the movies they've loved best in the last two decades have been decidedly science fictional.I mention this because in Children of Dune (originally published in 1976) Frank Herbert engaged in some marvelous experimentation with extending the parameters of what science fiction could be: experiments that he would pursue to a greater or lesser degree for the rest of his career, and which all too few other science fiction authors have since attempted to emulate. For the first time Herbert blended science fiction with literary fiction in a serious way. Children of Dune represents the first novel in which a science fiction author really tried to do this. Herbert was going all-out in an attempt to create genuine literature within his Dune universe, engaging in intense psychological character studies no less than advancing the action-adventure sequences which by tradition are central to science fiction, as well as to almost all other fashionable genres. He was deliberately angling to win respect for science fiction as a legitimate literary form. In fact, you might say Children of Dune is literary fiction that happens to be built on a science fiction foundation.How well this experiment succeeds is debatable. Some science fiction readers don't want more than a plot-driven action-adventure. Still, this novel remains popular among those who still read Frank Herbert, and I suspect that this aspect of the novel never really sinks in with most readers. In my opinion the experiment succeeds superbly, extending the series into new literary territory not seen before in Herbert's works. By itself this is abundant reason to read Children of Dune.That's the first thing to appreciate about this third novel in the Dune series.The second thing to understand is that when Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind premiered in 1977, Children of Dune had already been out for a year and was waiting on the shelves to be discovered by new converts to the genre. The Dune paperbacks were soon repackaged in a box set just as The Lord of the Rings had been, and the general public, now suddenly hungry for this genre from the wastelands, began buying the trilogy with unprecedented enthusiasm, particularly in the Christmas buying season of 1977. The original Dune trilogy was therefore a critically important factor ushering in science fiction's newfound public acceptability. The more mainstream style in which Children of Dune was written certainly contributed to this acceptance.Two principles inform the action of this novel. Various power factions are vying to control and shape the upcoming promotion of the illegitimate nine-year-old twins, Leto II and Ghanima, to the Imperial throne, and their Aunt Alia, the regent, is increasingly demonstrating frank signs of possession. Political power throughout the human-populated universe, and therefore human destiny itself, hangs in the balance. The goals of the young twins are mostly unappreciated by all the established power blocs to their own peril, the vision of Leto II for the future far outstripping anything anyone else has ever imagined. Just what this vision entails is only slowly revealed throughout the novel if, indeed, it can ever be said to be fully explicable: this theme will be best explored in the fourth book in the series, God Emperor of Dune.In a broader sense, Children of Dune is concerned with the tension between freedom and the driving urge for the control of human activity, for the self-assembling hierarchies which impose their own limits on the fate of humanity. The opposite of conservatism, Herbert argues, is not liberalism but freedom. Whenever the word or concept of control emerges in a Herbert novel, this is a red cape waved in front of a maddened bull. Controlling hierarchies are constructed of absolutes which always fail in the face of an infinite universe. Absolutes are deadly to human beings. This understanding is central to Leto's vision and, indeed, to much of the rest of the fiction that Herbert produced in his life.Children of Dune is a bridge that carries Herbert and, I would argue, science fiction collectively, into the modern era. This novel points the way to how science fiction can be enfolded into both the mainstream and into genuine literature.


I post this review for three first books of the Dune series, since i cannot divide my impressions and comments among these novels. I want to write regarding Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune as a whole. No spoiling.The main assessment is GREAT, it's must to read for everyone!There were few small weaknesses, globally i can remember only one - sometimes the text looks monotonous: intrigues, conversations, reflections, intrigues, conversations, reflections... but they were almost all interesting. And philosophy in this book rescued me from rare boredom.Anyway, plot is really interesting, and after the first half of every book it becomes so catchy, that it is difficult to stop reading. I may say that the plot was able to amaze me not once. For me Dune and Dune Messiah aren't two novels, but one. The second completes the first. So, it's a great idea to read further.Now characters. Really vivid, original, and different. I liked much that they are not one-sided. Worthy to be highly praised, Herbert didn't lapse into manicheanism. Heh, there are no good, but there are some bad. I like this great realism. Central characters are sufficiently depicted to understand them very well. One also moment to emphasize - characters are developing and changing. There are some extremely interesting changes, especially in Children of Dune.The best feature of the first book is culture. Herbert has minutely depicted how the absence of water affects the society.But the strongest aspect of all three books is philosophical. There is a plenty of profound, sagacious, and very interesting ideas. First of all, political and social issues. As a theorist of power and politics, i may say that Herberts' thoughts about power are noteworthy. And all his philosophical contemplations can be useful - mostly as a source of further reflections.

Abelito Mcbride

Book Three of The Dune Chronicles was an experience like no other. After two books that helped shape the universe and introduce a multitude of characters and situations, Children of Dune brings many aspects of Dune and Dune Messiah together and goes full steam ahead into places you never thought a book could ever take you. So many little subtle things done in the previous two books come to their beautiful, mind bending fruition in this book; and, as Frank Herbert always does, he finishes each book in such a classy way, never getting too dry or too thriller-esque with his writing, and always setting up the seeds perfectly for the next book. How Frank Herbert schemed all this out I will never be able to fathom, I'm just so happy that another human has taken the effort to describe a self made world with such fluidity and exactitude. Truly inspiring work of literature right here. Take the plunge: Read Dune and you will never be the same, and you will thank yourself for it.

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