Dios emperador de Dune

ISBN: 8497597486
ISBN 13: 9788497597487
By: Frank Herbert

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About this book

More than three thousand years have passed since the first events recorded in Dune. Only one link survives with those tumultuous times: the grotesque figure of Leto Atreides, son of the prophet Paul Muad'Dib, now the virtually immortal God Emperor of Dune. He alone understands the future, & he knows with a terrible certainty that the evolution of his race is at an end unless he can breed new qualities into his species. But to achieve his final victory, Leto Atreides must also bring about his own downfall.

Reader's Thoughts


Please, make it stop.

Eric Allen

God Emperor of DuneBook 4 of the Dune ChroniclesBy Frank HerbertA Dune Retrospective by Eric AllenWhat do you say about the book that was so completely terrible that it so turned you off of the series that you refused to read the four books that came after it for over a decade? This book is bad in a way that few things achieve. Oh, yes, there are worse things than this book in human history, and I do not mean to cheapen the horror of those atrocities, but when it comes to complete and utter failures in fictional exploits, this is amongst the worst. By this time in his career, Frank Herbert's Dune series had sold multiple millions of books. He was a veritable gold mine for his publisher, and so, he had the power and influence to basically get anything he wanted from them. As a result, God Emperor of Dune is pure and complete insanity. Oh, but its not just normal insanity, oho no. Its a special sort of insanity. Its the sort of insanity that happens when you give crazy way too much money, power, influence, and creative license. I like to call this kind of crazy, George Lucas Syndrome. Allow me to explain. In 1977 George Lucas, a rookie filmmaker, under huge budget constraints, and with heavy studio influence, managed to produce one of the greatest movies of all time. Though Star Wars was well recieved by the world at large, his distributer still placed very harsh budget constraints on the following two films. These movies were a great illustration of the concept "Art from Adversity". Despite all of the people telling him no, all the limitations of special effects technology, all of the problems with budgeting and studio executives trying to change his work, he managed to produce one of the most lucrative franchises in movie history. He was viewed as a filmmaking genius by many... and then he made the prequels. He had unlimited funds, was no longer constrained by the limits of special effects technology, and most importantly, everyone on earth was utterly terrified to tell him no, because he could very easily take his goldmine of a series elsewhere and be just as happy. When you take the adversity, the thing that CLEARLY created the art to begin with, out of the picture, you are left with a man who is completely insane, making movies that are also completely insane. What does this have to do with Dune, you ask? Plenty. You see, having sold millions of copies of his first three books in the Dune series, Frank Herbert had enough clout with his publishers that he could have taken a dump on a blank piece of paper and they would have published it, because they were utterly terrified that he would take his series elsewhere. And so, when he handed them the manuscript for God Emperor of Dune, NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT HOW TERRIBLE IT WAS TO HIM!!! They published it because he wrote it, it had Dune in the title, and people would buy it, read it, and claim to love it because of it.So, this leaves the question, was Herbert balls out insane from the beginning, and simply constrained by his publishers and editors to create art for his first three books? Or did he just do a crapton of drugs between book 3 and book 4? We may never know the answer for sure.Why is this book so bad? Well, lets find out, shall we?I can't put enough quotation marks around the word "story" here, so I won't even try. 3500 years have passed since the events of Children of Dune. Leto Atreides II has become a giant sandworm with a human face and arms... Yeah, I'll give you a minute to wrap your mind around that. You good? Ok, moving on then. The ENTIRE plot of this book revolves around Leto talking, and talking, and talking, and talking, and talking, and talking, and talking. He talks about being a sandworm. He talks about what it means to be a sandworm. He talks about why it's important that he has become a sandworm. He talks about how being a sandworm fits into his plans. And through all that talking, HE NEVER MANAGES TO TALK ABOUT WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO THE PLOT OR WHY I SHOULD CARE!!! And then he dies, easily killed by his utter arrogance in believing that mere humans could never possibly rise up against him.The Good? Nada. In fact, skip this book if you plan to read this series. Your life will be better for it. You miss absolutely nothing that the next book does not readily explain in a few sentences, and you don't have to wade through all the complete fail that this book embodies.The Ugly? First of all, while Herbert's views on women were pretty apparent in his previous works, he is openly sexist in this book to a huge and offensive degree. He has some extraordinarily strange views on the roles women play in society, what they want out of life, and how their thoughts and feelings differ from those of men. He devotes a large section of the book to explaining in great detail why women are inferior to men, veiling it behind the guise of praising them as a gender. Nice try Herbert, but you FAIL to hide your complete contempt for women in general. Every woman that I know that has read this book has come away from it TERRIBLY offended. Women beware, this book basically says that you're the scum of the universe and the source of every problem that man knows. If this sort of thing offends you, and believe me, I'm a guy and it offends ME, steer clear of this book.Not only does Herbert put forward some very offensive ideas about women, he also puts forth some very offensive views about homosexuals, soldiers, and pretty much all humanity in general. Women get the worst of it here by far, but soldiers and homosexuals come close on their heels. He seems to have great contempt for pretty much anyone that is not exactly like he is. This is an actual line from the book. I have not altered it in any way. "All soldiers are homosexuals at heart." There are so many layers of offensiveness buried in those six little words that I could write an entire essay on that alone. Needless to say, it is offensive to every party mentioned in multiple ways. It takes true talent and bigotry to imbue such a short sentence with so many layers of insult to so many different people. And let me say right here and now, so that there is no mistaking Herbert's views for my own, though I may come from a strong Christian background, I have no problem with gay people. My philosophy on life is that everyone should have the freedom to live as they see fit, and it is not my place to tell them that they are doing it wrong, regardless of my own personal feelings on the matter. I have worked with gay people all my working life and you know what I've learned about them? They're people. Just like everyone else. Doing their best to live their lives in a world that is not very accepting of them. They deserve to live their lives just like everyone else.Every character in this book other than Leto exists for one purpose and one purpose alone. To ask questions that facilitate even more talking from him. Let me describe to you every scene in this book. Leto rants for about thirty pages on his morality and plan for humanity. Someone is confused by his complete insanity and asks him a question. He then goes on at great length explaining the answer. The other character is still confused and asks another question, which facilitates yet another long and boring rant from him. These characters have no personality. They have no motivation. They have no plans or desires of their own. They exist within the plot for one purpose and one purpose only, to give Leto an excuse to further explain Frank Herbert's insanity.Leto is still not a sympathetic character. He has more personality here than he did in the previous book, this is true, but here he is even more loathsome because of it. I'm sorry, I do not sympathize with a grotesque mockery of humanity who goes on, and on, and on, and on about he's the only hope of said humanity, and as such has the right to severly subjugate all life in the universe under his strictures and rule. He was not a likeable character to begin with, and here, he has become a loathsome tyrant that it is impossible to sympathize with. So why should I care about a book that is, primarily, about him talking at GREAT LENGTH about his own personal philosophy? I don't. I really, REALLY don't. He's a terrible character, and as an extension of that, any story revolving around him is also terrible.Herbert STILL does not seem to feel the need to explain what motivates Leto to do what he has done, and why I should care about it. These are basic elements of the plot of this book and the previous one that are COMPLETELY LEFT TO THE READER'S IMAGINATION. IF you want me to care about your character and the story revolving around him, you have to tell me WHAT he is doing, WHY it is important, and most importantly, WHY I SHOULD CARE!!! These are basic storytelling elements that Herbert completely FAILED to employ.In conclusion, this book is awful. It's a special kind of awful, the sort of which you will rarely find in fiction. It's basically a thinly disguised excuse for Herbert to give his own philosophies on life. If you want to write a book of philosophy, by all means, go ahead and do so. But don't try to tell me it's the next installment of your epic science fiction series. This book gets ZERO stars, but since the rating does not show up here on Goodreads with zero, I threw one up there. It feels FAR longer than it actually is. It centers around a character that is completely and utterly loathesome, without a SINGLE redeeming characteristic, and I'm supposed to feel for this character? Yeah, sorry Herbert, but no. I don't. I really, REALLY don't. This book is terrible in a way that few books are. And worst of all, it's boring. I can forgive bad writing. I can forgive a bad story. I can forgive wooden characters. It is my opinion that one of the truly unforgivable things that a storyteller can do, is to tell a boring story. Only the most hardcore fans of the Dune series will likely be able to find any enjoyment here, to any casual readers I typicaly recomend that this book be skipped over, because it really is THAT bad. Check out my other reviews.

Dave Johnson

when i first read this, i really didnt understand what Herbert said. this was such a departure from his first three books that i thought it was awful. in fact, at the time, i told a friend that i didnt like where Dune was going and that i was going to quit the series after this book. long story short, i didnt quit. and, although i didnt like the book at the time, i reread this book back in '06 and i really liked it. i guess you have to understand what leto went through for his "Golden Path". he had to turn into something hated and worshiped, and he hated that. but because he knew that humanity would be extinguished without his help, he knew that his job was necessary. what i also found intriguing was how well herbert portrayed someone who knew the future. but it wasnt that he knew everything; he had to search the possible futures. and when he found a person whose future was unsearchable, he was pleasantly surprised.with all his books, herbert made amazing characters. in the end, this was a very good book, but only in the context of the next two books (which were my favorite of the dune series).

Paul Darcy

by Frank Herbert, published in 1981.I rarely need to struggle and push myself through a science fiction novel, but on this one by Frank Herbert I had to do just that.Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as bad as all that, just very dense and philosophical - which to some is probably great reading, but to me it felt like wading through dogma and cleverness and knee-high swampwaters.The main character, Leto II the God Emperor, is unquestionably a unique and interesting character in the history of Science Fiction. He is a genetic cross between a great worm of Dune and a man. The novel deals mainly with this character and how he is leading humanity to survival - at least you think he is, or, like others in the novel, maybe his is just insane and needs to be removed.Thousands of years have passed since Paul Atreides lead the Fremen to take over Dune, and incorporated into the God Emperor are all the Atreides line for the past thousands of years. He sees history through the eyes of hundreds, and knows the Golden Path, the path leading to salvation.A really cool idea, with really cool characters, but again - tedious. It fails partly because of the omniscient narrator which has you jumping from one character’s mind to another from paragraph to paragraph - I must say I hate that kind of writing and maybe that has coloured my view of this book.I won’t give away any details because it is in the details that Herbert excels as a novelist and his world is rich and vast and worth the trip. Just be warned, it could be long and arduous one.Oh, I should mention this is the fourth Dune novel by Herbert and the start of his last trilogy written about Dune.Overall I can see the vast canvas Herbert has painted and it is magnificent. I just can’t decide if this particular novel is a master-piece or a piece of something else.You will need to read if for yourself is you want to know what happens to the God Emperor and his Golden Path - if you care to that is.I am divided on this one - just like the God Emperor himself.

Marcus Bird

This is one of the best books I have ever read. I don't say that lightly. There are so many layers to this book that work. Firstly, the idea behind accurately conveying a nigh immortal being's state of mind (a being with the memories of countless people) is no easy task, I found myself fully understanding the main character, the God emperor Leto. Frank Herbert explores so much mental territory here, the ramifications of cloning people, sexuality and gender roles as it relates to war and peace, existentialism and self-actualization, etc. What was powerful was the way that his character had troubles coming to grips with an inability to do physical love, but the writing gave you that hunger in his mind, the desire he wanted more. Also, the unpredictable nature of his "worm" body created a slowly escalating fear in me as the reader as time passed. Page after page I waited for him to snap. It was riveting. Highly recommended read.


It's not until the end of this book that you begin to understand Herbert's grand plan for his series. DUNE is really about shaking man out of an evolutionary cul-de-sac, showing a frustrated civil(?) society that despite its technological and social superiority is stagnating. The inventions of the Bene Gesseritt, the Guild, the Mentats, all of these are bulwarks against the decline of man that are failing. And the only one to understand this is Leto II, God Emperor of the Known Universe. In his transformed state, he rules a bizarrely changed Dune, and through more political intrigue and the continued centuries-long resurrection of Duncan Idaho clones, we learn that Leto has seen this decline of man coming and his twisted machinations are an attempt to prepare the human race to evolve beyond this end. Fucking BRILLIANT stuff here, even if it's not fully borne out until the next novel. But wow. They don't make 'em like they used to.

Simon Mcleish

Originally published on my blog here in January 1999.The fourth Dune novel saw Herbert returning to the series after a considerable gap, both in internal and external chronology. This book is set several thousand years after Leto gained the throne, and he has maintained himself in a position of absolute power in the galaxy, his enforced peace being used to prepare mankind for a future event left unspecified at this point in the series. He has continued to change in response to the sandtrout he accepted as his new skin as a child, and now resembles a small sandworm more than a human being. During his long reign, and through his ancestral memories, he has experienced just about everything the human race has to offer (despite never, in human terms, developing after about his ninth birthday); any way that people manage to act which surprises him is a great pleasure. He takes a particular delight in those who rebel against him, and now in Siona Atreides, a descendant of his sister Ghanima, he has an opponent he can be interested in, for she is also immune to his powers of prescience: his spice-inspired visions of the future cannot predict what she will do. This immunity is really what Leto has been working towards in the breeding programme he took over from the Bene Gesserit sisterhood; it is needed for humanity to be able to withstand the threat he has seen in mankind's future.God Emperor is a scene setter for the final two books in the Dune series, and rather suffers from this (which may explain the lengthy gap before these last two books finally appeared). Leto is not really made different enough from those around him to be truly convincing (he should be a really alien figure), and the novel feels lacking in direction and so never grabs the full attention of the reader.

Irving Karchmar

I think that God Emperor Leto II, the man who turned himself into a giant sandworm in order to save humanity, and thereby lived for 3500 years, is my favorite character in fiction, science or otherwise. Of course, a being with that long a life, and with "other memories" going back through the entire history of mankind to the first stirrings of cellular awareness, is a remarkable achievement. His insights are lucid and insightful, and one I remember, about all armies being rape armies, is especially poignant today in the light of all the rape and abuse charges in the US Military. Truly a remarkable part of the best series in sci-fi.


It never ceases to amaze me when I re-read Dune, so many new layers in both content, social statement, and economic perspective are revealed. Frank Herbert's third piece in his masterpiece series is not only a fascinating tale of a man who willingly sacrifices his humanity to save what is humankind, it is a tale of the dangers in short-sighted pursuits of purely monetary gains. There are so many layers, I cannot hope to describe them all here. Read the books for yourself, and be aware that Herbert wasn't just telling a story -- he was criticizing human society and our tendency to destroy ourselves with our own short-sightedness.


Painful and unrewarding. Listen: if you read Dune 1-3 and want to hop into the maelstrom of Dune 5, let me just tell you what happens in God Emperor. Just give me a call and I'll sketch it out. It'll take 2 minutes and you'll thank me later. Or, hey, be crazy and read it like I did.I'm pretty sure Brian Herbert wrote it and Frank knows it sucks. In Dune 5 and 6 the characters continually refer to the period in human future history covered by this book as "[number redacted due to spoiler:] years of boredom." I am not making that up.


Is it philosophical? Well if repeating the same point over and over again is philosophy, then this is about as philosophical as it gets. I'm going to reveal what it's all about, ready? Stagnation is bad. If you enforce stagnation for long enough people will get sick of it. So in order that there will be less stagnation in the future there has to be a lot of it now.That's it. That's the whole book in a nutshell.Leto drags out this same (dubious) argument at every opportunity, which is every couple of pages, because he has designed the empire around this idea. Did I mention that it gets repetitive? One positive thing I will say about the book is that the God Emperor shows us what sacrifices ideological commitment can demand of us. That and some of the characters was what kept me reading this book long after I got the point.

Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)

A deep and unflattering meditation on the human condition and whether near absolute tyranny can free mankind from certain of these trappings, Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune is my favourite novel of what is a monumental series and one of the greatest in all of science fiction.This review offers an excellent and concise summary of what the book does for the story.Be warned however that this novel doesn't offer a smooth silk thread of a plot where characters are affixed colourful and appreciable beads sliding along through well-paced curves and loops to a conclusion. The structure is unorthodox and consists mainly and most significantly of digressions from the eponymous God Emperor, Leto II, whose sacrifice in order to set humanity on the Golden Path his father deferred, has physically and mentally alienated him from it. In something of a reversal of the fate Frazer gives for the Sacred King, the God Emperor suppresses and goads the various factions of his new empire to force the end he desires in order to jolt civilisation out of stagnation.Another reviewer briefly notes how this is a glimpse of 'alien motives' à la Lovecraft, which is a very astute observation. At times Leto thinks of the Golden Path as a necessity for humankind's survival quite independently from the transient viewpoint of his human subjects, almost as an intellectual problem. Rarely do we find gods written about intimately in literature. The pitfalls are obvious. This is why all the facets and complexity Herbert bestows on his eponymous character here such a feat- unparalleled in my view.Numerous, often coy insights into the past that leads to doom if not for his Golden Path are ruminated upon by Leto alongside ambiguities which must be addressed at this late stage in his plans before his own necessary demise. To appreciate these requires a broad view of the complex social dynamics in Herbert's universe and an almost cynical openness to how a technologically advanced species might adapt economically, culturally and politically to the long reign of such a threat as the God Emperor. That Herbert was able to distill such far-reaching machinations and give voice to them through Leto instead of letting the narrative unravel more disconnectedly (but perhaps as effectively) as in Stapledon's and Asimov's work is a feat of daring which still strains credulity as I look back on this work.It isn't that the other characters are particularly flawed compared to the other novels, but their shortcomings and struggles of limited scope, given our view through Leto's eyes, appear to condemn the whole of humanity, past and present, which has accepted, but moreover was found desperately needing Leto's direction.

Kyle Holden

A very good read. Herbert's use of dialog and overall language forces the reader not to focus on what the author is saying but what the author is leaving out. I was a little disappointed in the ending; thought it could have had more detail or substance, but overall a very enjoyable read.


There is something leaden about this book. Plot-wise, the previous Dune books were driven by crisis brought about by change. God Emperor of Dune centers around stasis - stasis imposed by a tyrant for the supposed good of humankind. Herbert is once again wrestling with some fascinating and complex ideas, but the philosophical pay-off doesn't quite balance the sluggish pace, the almost cartoonish outlandishness of Leto II's physical form, and the tedium of Leto's self-pity and his repeated waxings poetical about his wealth of ancestral memories. Still, if you're into Dune and can withstand the above, worth reading for the odd places Herbert ventures.

Bob R Bogle

Having finished writing the third book of the trilogy, Children of Dune (first published in Analog, January-April 1976), Frank Herbert did not intend to revisit that imaginary universe. He had said all he wished to say about Paul Atreides and his legacy, and about the spice, and sandworms, and the Bene Gesserit, and the like. He would move on to other matters.And so he did. The Dosadi Experiment followed hard on the heels of Children of Dune, first published in the summer of 1977. This was succeeded by a screenplay for a Dune movie in 1978, and complicated legal wrangling involving the writing and rewriting of The Jesus Incident, which was published in 1979. Competing negotiations for a film version of Soul Catcher preoccupied Herbert during the summer of 1980. During this period he also coauthored a now almost unreadable book about new technology just beginning to arrive on the scene, 1980's Without Me You're Nothing: The Essential Guide to Home Computers.As early as 1977, however, Herbert had admitted that he felt pressure to continue the Dune series, although he was uncommitted to doing so. He said then: "The thing that attracts me is, say, coming back to the character of Leto 3,400 years later . . ."When Herbert did decide to return to the Duniverse, he felt free of any constraints so far as the plot was concerned. So long as he remained within the general boundaries established in the original trilogy, he was free to write about absolutely anything he desired. He must have felt very liberated, knowing he had a guaranteed audience and to be able to start fresh. He wrote the fourth book in the series between March 1979 and July 1980. Published in May 1981, God Emperor of Dune is Frank Herbert's magnum opus.Dune Messiah reads like a convoluted Shakespearian tragedy, but God Emperor of Dune bumps it up a couple orders of magnitude: here we find not excessively Byzantine plot convolutions, but rather a graceful and elegant prose found nowhere else in Herbert's writing. Herbert had begun to consciously try to meld literary and science fiction in Children of Dune, and that experimentation reaches its apex in this novel. God Emperor of Dune is the most literary science fiction novel I've ever read. This is precisely the kind of writing that I wish all science fiction authors would try to meet or exceed.In Children of Dune the character Leto II had unambiguously declared that the choice for humanity was one of extinction or his Golden Path: some dangerous something was embedded in the human psyche that needed to be corrected. In writing this novel, Herbert asked himself one question: If I had thousands of years at my disposal, how would I fix humanity?Within that question lies the character of Leto II, and the character of Leto II provokes all of the action of the story.I'll give away none of the plot here, but in order to appreciate the tragedy that is God Emperor of Dune it's important to consider the quality of the main character, Leto II.In the earlier Dune books, the primary superheroic gift of Paul Atreides was an ability to foresee many different possible futures. The ability of Alia, and of the Bene Gesserit, was to assimilate the life-experiences of their past ancestors. In Leto II Herbert has merged these gifts. The God Emperor has extraordinary access to all spacetime, past and future: he is the real Kwisatz Haderach. Furthermore, enveloped as he is in a skin that is not his own, he has become virtually indestructible and immortal. He may not have the power of physical creation at his fingertips, but for all practical purposes Herbert has created in Leto II what may be at once the strangest and the most believable god-figure in literature.Leto II contains and can access the full-life experiences of all his ancestors, back to the dawn of human consciousness. So how many personages are rattling around within the psyche of the God Emperor? Counting n generations backwards in time, each of us has 2*2^n ancestors, which means after only n = 19 (i.e., 19 generations back), we each have more than a million ancestors. As Herbert elsewhere (i.e., in Destination: Void) posits human consciousness originated 16,000 years ago, a bit of math suggests that Leto II has direct access to approximately 3.0 x 10^371 fully integrated ancestral lifetime memory-records! Add to that his prescient abilities, and this character is suddenly discovered to be the Alexandrian library incarnate multiplied to an unprecedented degree. His experience of humanity is legion. Nowhere else in fiction, to my knowledge, has the portrayal of a character even remotely like this one been attempted. Given this understanding, Leto's unique perspective on the human condition becomes a bit more comprehensible. 3,500 years to such a creature can seem little more than the blink of an eye. He can scarcely be concerned with the individual: it is only survival of the species that matters to him. This makes him the ultimate alien, the enigmatic sphinx whose utterances may be heard and recorded but must be interpreted within the context of millennia.God Emperor of Dune presents us with Herbert's most careful, most thoughtful, most philosophical, most profound writing of his life, and the prose of its telling is exquisite. Every page is alive and electric, jolting with new insights. To have made the prolonged journey with Herbert over the long years and to arrive at this point with him is a kind of privilege. For more than any other character he created, Leto II is inseparable from Frank Herbert. If nowhere else, Herbert will live forever in God Emperor of Dune.

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