Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2)

ISBN: 0441172695
ISBN 13: 9780441172696
By: Frank Herbert

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Dune Messiah continues the story of the man Muad'dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to completion the centuries-old scheme to create a super-being. "Brilliant...It is all that Dune was, and maybe a little bit more." --Galaxy Magazine

Reader's Thoughts


I devoured this book in just 3 days, it is simply that compelling. What more can I say about the most-read sci-fi epic ever written? The Dune series has everything I want in an epic: politics, humanity, religion and space. While the first book deals with revolution, noble families and the fulfillment of prophecy, this second part deals with the personal struggle of the new leader of humanity and the emotional ramifications of being the figurehead of a jihad being waged in his name. What happens to a man with absolute power when those around him act on their belief that absolute power corrupts absolutely? Reading this story, one begins to see the themes that have permeated the biggest sci-fi stories of our time: Dune echoes throughout "the matrix" and "star wars" movies and even my beloved "Ender Wiggin Saga," in that we are thrust into a new and strange universe centered around one very human and vulnerable character, then guided through a story that strips away all of the foreign technologies and political dynamics to show us ourselves, in our own lives.Whether you read for leisure or enlightenment, the use of intrigue, violence and the overall tone of questioning the establishment will appeal. This story maturates the reader and provokes one to question the role of politics and religion in our daily existence.


Once upon a time, a man named Frank Herbert wrote a book called Dune. It was a pretty good book, full of complex religious symbolism and interesting, flawed characters. It sold well and won a number of awards. I can imagine Mr. Herbert wondering, in the wake of Dune, "How can I milk as much cash from this universe I've created as possible?" Enter Dune Messiah.Don't get me wrong, this is still a decent book. It's not crap by any means. By Dune's standard, though, it just doesn't measure up. It feels like the halfhearted sequel to the blockbuster, like Herbert wasn't really giving it his 100%.You can almost hear the "DUN DUN DUNNNN" whenever Paul is in danger. This is usually followed by Paul using his prescient abilities, or his mentat abilities, or some ability that happens to manifest itself at an appropriate time, to emerge from the conflict unscathed. In essence, Paul is like Superman: you can't kill him, and he manifests some new ability at the drop of a hat if it moves the plot forward, so you're never really worried that he might be in danger unless he wants to be in danger.Overall, this is one of those books that make you wish that the author had just let the series go after one book.


sigh. I really tried, Frank. I really tried.

Christy Ford

What a mess. The Paul character is depressing and unrecognizable, the plot (and plotting) is vague and uncompelling, and there really isn't much to like at all - particularly compared to the tight plot and crisp ideas of it's predecessor.Don't give up entirely however, book #3 is a much better presentation. There is little enough plot in this one that you can probably skip directly to Children of Dune and not be overly lost.

Scott Gray

It's hard to add anything to what's been said about Frank Herbert's "Dune" in the 45 years since it first appeared. "Dune" was already a classic when i read it in 1981, and unlike many SF books from the cusp of speculative fiction's New Wave, its impact remains as timeless now as it did then. Herbert grounded his sprawling tale of imperial politics and ecological revolution in a character story worthy of Tolstoy, downplaying the nuts-and-bolts aspects of his milieu's technology in a way that prevents "Dune" from seeming stale, even today.As with many of the most seminal works of speculative fiction and fantasy, the most amazing thing about "Dune" is how close it came to never seeing print, having been passed over by twenty publishers before being initially picked up by a nonfiction small press. In the canon of F&SF, there are few books whose importance literally cannot be understated. "Dune" is one of those. Without it, the world of imaginative literature would not be the same.I break with a lot of Herbert fans in my complete dispassion for the later "Dune" books, including the capstone of the original trilogy, "Children of Dune". To anyone who hasn't read the books, my recommendation is always to read "Dune" and "Dune Messiah" back to back as one continuous narrative, with the sequel bringing Herbert's vision to a satisfying and heartbreaking end.

Noor Jahangir

I downloaded Dune Messiah as soon as I finished reading the orginial. Dune is one of the best books I've read, but I found Dune Messiah somewhat lacking the energy of the first.At the end of Dune, Paul Atriedes, known as Muad'dhib by the bedouin Fremen, defeats Emperor Shaddam IV and his families arch-nemsis, Baron Harkonen. He marries Shaddam's daughter, Princess Irulan, to give legitmacy to his own rule as Emperor.This signals the beginning of the Fremen Jihad which sweeps across the universe and the religion of Muad'dhib, with Paul and his powerful sister Alia as its godheads, takes grip of every world the Fremen conquer. This all happens in between Dune and Dune Messiah.The second book is just as well-written, but it lacks the energy and vitality of the first. I think this is because Paul does little but sit in his fortress brooding about the things that are happening around him, trapped in the path layed out by his own spice-enhanced prescient abilities, unwilling to break free because to do so could plunge the universe in darker times.If you've read the first, you are likely to want to read the second. The only reason to do so is to find out what happens to the characters you fell in love with in the first book. Otherwise I wouldn't really recommend this one.

John Shumway

*Same review for the Dune Universe*GREAT books! VERY time consuming! Worth the time!Ok here is the deal. If your not sure about starting a series this big, here is what I would do.1. -- Read the 1st one by Frank Herbert "Dune" if you like it...2. -- Read the "Legends Of Dune" series. Its 3 books written by Frank's son Brian and a author I really like by the name of Keven J. Anderson. Its a prequel that is so far in the past that it doesn't spoil the Original Dune series in any way, and you could stop after that series and be done with Dune.. but if your not done....3. -- Go and read the "Prelude To Dune" series its also 3 books and is a prequel to the original dune series but just prior so you will learn about some of the characters in the 1st book you read "Dune". 4. -- By now you have committed enough time in the series that you probably NEED to finish it. Go back and re-read Dune, (trust me you will want to) then go on and read the rest of the original Dune series (Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse Dune) Your devotion to the series will help push you through some of the parts that I think are slightly. Its worth it though!4. -- You will notice the series ends up in the AIR! Frank Herbert died before finishing the series. The authors of the prequel series (his son Bryan Herbert and Keven J. Anderson) finished the series from compiled notes from Frank, Brian's experience talking to his father about the series and both Brian and Kevin's love of the Dune universe. It is very well done. Its two books (Hunters of Dune, and Sandworms of Dune.)OK so sum up here is the order I would do the series. (which ends up being chronological except for the 1st book, even though it wasn't published this way.Dune (to make sure you like it.)Legends of Dune (series of 3 books)Prelude to Dune (series of 3 books)Dune (again since your restarting the original series)The rest of the Dune seriesHunters of DuneSandworms of DuneOk have fun.


I finally read Dune Messiah, the second book in the Dune series, after years of only having read the first book.Excellent. Dune and Dune Messiah, together, form a reasonably complete story. Some of it is invalidated and/or retconed by subsequent books (I'm reading Children of Dune right now), which is unfortunate, but in reading Dune Messiah, it's obvious that many elements of the setting, which seem like standard Space Opera color, such as the feudal system, were carefully chosen so nothing would get in the way of the issues that Herbert was highlighting: Struggling against destiny (prescience), choosing the lesser of many evils, the power of human genetics and genetic memory, the footprint of man on an ecological system, and the psychological power of religion, along with a healthy dose of politics and duty, feminine and mascline power, and explorations into human potential. It's surprising how little of the details of the setting turn out to be color; nearly everything seems to be carefully chosen to highlight the themes the author is working with.I particularly enjoyed the bits with the ressurrected Duncan Idaho, not to mention seeing Alia get a little happiness. I like seeing my Abomination women get a little happiness. :)If you're intimidated by the whole series, but felt that Dune was oddly incomplete, you can read Dune and Dune Messiah and reach a reasonable stopping point. In fact, the continuation seems a little weak, something I'll go into in more detail when I talk about Children of Dune in a later entry.


** spoiler alert ** You know what it's like. Every decision seems so obviously sensible, but one thing just leads to another. We've all had it happen to us.So, last time I had my family murdered by our hereditary enemies, I went into hiding in the desert too, and linked up with the tough native fighters there. I mean, who wouldn't? Since I had psychic powers, it seemed pretty crazy not to use them to gain some respect. Before I knew what had happened, I was the clan's leader. And, you get some momentum, you want to keep it up, otherwise you just go backwards. Suddenly I found I was ruling the planet. I didn't expect it to be quite so easy to conquer the known Universe, but that bit always catches you by surprise.On the way, I met this girl. I liked her, she liked me, well, you know how these things happen. She gets pregnant. Then, shit, I go and of course lose my sight in some kind of nuclear attack. I'm just kicking myself for being so careless. Girlfriend dies in childbirth, par for the course, and since she has twins all my psychic powers are gone. I keep meaning to find out why that happens, but I never get round to it.Oh well, I guess I'll be left to die in the wilderness as usual, and the kids will turn into godlike mutant sandworms. Never mind. I'll try to do better next time.

James A McCormick

Set twelve years after the first novel, Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides now rules as Emperor. Yet despite his absolute authority he is nevethless a victim to the religious revolution, the jihad, he has unleashed. Not as impressive as the first book in the epic series this one stands out for its sheer existential brilliance as we see the protagnost (now with almost god like oracualr wisdom, not quite - this is reserved for Leto II in God Emperor of Dune) question himself and everything he has built and his fears for the future of mankind. The identity Paul forges for himself in the first novel now unravels and falls away. Herbert shows brilliantly the deconstruction of a living legend and ... well, to say any more would be to ruin a great read for those unfamiliar with the second novel in this incredible series. All I will say is if you haven't ever read Dune, read it now. Then read Dune Messiah straight after.


I don't normally look at reviews of a book prior to writing my own take on it, but sometime I just draw a blank after finishing a book. Some books are harder to review than others, sometime because I feel ambivalent about them, sometime I don’t fully understand them, and sometime I don’t know the reason, they just are. After finishing Dune Messiah I feel like I need some kind of launching pad to start off the review, some inspiration or perhaps I will resort to simply ripping off somebody’s review wholesale (unfortunately Cecily has not reviewed this one yet so I'll pass on the last option ;)Dune, as you are undoubtedly aware, is probably the most famous sci-fi novel of all time. Dune Messiah is like Frank Herbert’s equivalent of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album in that it has to follow up a once in a lifetime mega hit and is doomed to come up short. Having read the book I do not get the feeling that Frank Herbert was feeling under pressure to match Dune’s success. Perhaps authors are not subject to the same level of pressure as pop stars. At around 340 pages Dune Messiah is about half the length of Dune, it is also very different in tone and pacing. It starts off twelve years after the events of Dune. Our literally know it all hero Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides is now Emperor of the known universe and is having a suitably heroic melancholic time of it on account of the jihad which caused billions of death in his name. In the meantime powerful enemies are ganging up to snuff him out because he is too powerful, he is literally a know-it-all thanks to his oracular powers, and nobody likes a smartass. His wife concubine can not have a baby because his legal wife slipped her some contraceptive (and oracular powers apparently do not cover food additives). To make matters worse (or perhaps better) his dead teacher Duncan Idaho is returned to him as a sort of clone (ghola) with a suspicious mission and a new highly ominous name of Hayt. With all the odds stacked against him how can he survive? With panache of course!The first third of the book is very interesting with all the aforementioned odds being piled up against Paul, then the pacing of the book begin to sag with a lot of ruminations and philosophizing by the major characters and my mind drifted off to parts unknown. After a rather dry 100 or so pages the plot revives quite a bit and the climax is quite thrilling (if not exactly unpredictable). This book clearly has a lot of depth, themes and subtexts, unfortunately its profundity mostly escaped me as profundities tend to do. One of the Amazon reviewers mentioned that the book is so profound wh8ile reading it he frequently had to stop to think about what Herbert was really saying. The stoppages I made are mostly to do with thinking about my options for lunch and other mundane things.The two central characters are less compelling than they were in the previous book, Paul is all broody and miserable, his sister Alia goes through mood swings between being supernaturally sage, overly shrill and a teenager with a crush. Hayt/Idaho is pretty cool though, is he or isn’t he? Of course he is!For me Dune Messiah acts as a slightly dull (but not too shabby) bridge to go on to the original trilogy’s grand finale Children of Dune which is brilliant by all accounts and I am looking forward to reading soonish.


When I finished DUNE, I was pretty reluctant to read its first sequel. This was because I read in reviews all over the Internet that it was boring that it was basically only a bridge between DUNE and CHILDREN OF DUNE.To be honest, I actually thought DUNE MESSIAH was better than DUNE. It's not quite the epic that DUNE was but I really liked how some of the character became more developed. I didn't like Paul in the first book (although I did like just about every character other than him) but I liked how the book showed his feelings toward the jihad and his prescience and how he was more sympathetic. My favorite character was probably Irulan. It's too bad she's only in the first half of the book. Alia's also pretty cool and I hope she'll be a more prominent character in CHILDREN OF DUNE. Scytale was an okay villain. One thing that was better about DUNE was that it had better villains. Scytale wasn't bad but he wasn't so awesome as Baron Harkonnen.Something I thought was interesting - Hayt reminded me of Michael Fassbender's David in PROMETHEUS. I don't know why but he did. Of all the characters who didn't appear in the first book, he was the most interesting. Well, technically, he did but it's not like I cared about Duncan Idaho. His Wikipedia page may say that he was a breakout character with fans of DUNE and that's why he's the one who was resurrected by Frank Herbert (I personally thought Thufir Hawat should have been resurrected) but I didn't think he had a big enough part to like him that much.I admit that the fourth fifth of the book gets kind of boring but the last fifth totally made up for it. The confrontation between Scytale and Paul, Paul's connection with his children, and the very last scene with Hayt/Duncan and Alia in the desert were wonderful.The only thing I thought was weird was how the Bene Tleilaxu didn't appear in DUNE but they have such a big role here.So yeah, I think DUNE MESSIAH is definitely worth taking a look at if you've read DUNE.


I must confess my heart sank when I began reading this, the sequel to Dune, to find it seemed to be, not just more of the same mind games played between key characters that its predecessor relied on, but also relatively devoid of action of any kind. There was the usual psychological power play conversations indulged in by powerful individuals who were either human computers, psychics, drug users with heightened prescient awareness, shapeshifters or revenants, in fact nary an ordinary human being among the lot of them. How would it be possible for the reader to make an empathic connection with beings who are palpably superhuman?And yet it didn't take long for me to be sucked into this Machiavellian and claustrophobic world of bluff and counter-bluff, political machination and character assassination. It is all patent nonsense, of course, but even though the individuals involved, from Paul Atreides the galactic Emperor to Bijaz the dwarf with a memory like blotting paper, are rarely if ever attractive personalities I found myself increasingly intrigued by how the shifting allegiances and startling revelations would allow the plot to be satisfactorily solved by the final pages. And, despite the twisted logic, it is indeed resolved in a rather satisfying way.As befits a Dune novel there is a lot of cod philosophising and mystical pretentiousness. The eco message of the first novel has been replaced by occasional meditations on the morality of near-absolute power combined with jihadism which I feel is inadequately addressed except in a very oblique way: for example, what morality is there in the acquiescing in the deaths of billions of beings on other worlds, and how does that impact on our sympathy with the apparently well-meaning elite who presided over it? I also am not persuaded by the pseudo-scienctific and technological attributes of this universe; and I regard the Dune novels as really fantasy which happen to be placed in a science-fiction setting. Still, Herbert's attempts to create a plausible apparatus for his future scenario are largely consistent within its parameters (the literary quotations heading each chapter, the historical legacy emanating from the Earth of millennia ago which allows the incongruous mix of once competing religions and beliefs on worlds unaware of and uninterested in their original context, and so on).Central to Herbert's plot is the concept of prescience which, combined with genetic predisposition, is bound up with the use of the 'spice' melange (in truth an addictive drug). This is clearly a product of ideas prevalent in the sixties, and must have been, as much as it remains now, a laughable proposition to most readers. Providing the reader accepts this premise (and it is a big proviso) Dune Messiah ends up an optimistic tale despite its atmosphere of Oresteian tragedy.

Taro Shijuukara

Well. That wasn't as good as the first book.Let's start with lack of action; this is sometimes forgivable but seriously, 90% of the book is meetings: conspiracy meetings, counter-conspiracy meetings, meetings about meetings. It's like a Conspiracy Theory Story with very little payoff in terms of action.At best, it feels like an in-between of the first book and what I expect the third book to be. The writing and story has matured since Dune; we'll see how it goes beyond.Honestly though once again the women fall flat. I mean, Chani's nearly the same as in Dune and I know very little about her, her motivations and desires. Hell I still don't know what she looks like, other than "elvin faced" (thankfully he didn't use that term in this book). Alia's probably the best developed female character and she's hard to comprehend.And Paul. I'm bitterly confused, and perhaps I lost the message of the book, it seems just beyond my reach (and that's not an intentional meta-reference). But he at once detests the empire he was unwittingly unleashed across the universe and at the same time viciously protects his line of power. Perhaps from the vacuum that would replace it?Again, it just feels like ends are left for the next book in the series. So all in all, a reasonably readable book, just too long and inert to stand on its own.


I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I liked Dune. But in some ways it was actually better. I love Dune but I love the world, the language, and the over all experience. And even though I like the minor characters, I just never connected with Paul or really any of the leads. Actually I found most of them to be arrogant and manipulative. But this sequel, which is more like an added end chapter, I found some of what I was missing. Paul become more human, questioning his role and his right. And his fear. And one of my major questions from the first was addressed in here. I liked it and it makes me want to read Dune again with new eyes. Recommended to anyone who read Dune but for whatever reason haven't read it yet.

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