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


started reading Dune before Christmas and read several other books while reading this one. I hate myself for not giving it the attention it deserves. Because of the numerous interruptions, I feel like I've missed the feeling of a dry, waterless sand planet, but serves me right--it was a completely wrong time for reading about a desert planet when the snow was knee-high. I wish I have had a whole week off to dedicate myself truly to the fantastic world of Arrakis and the genius of frank Herbert's writing.Dune was originally published in 1965. It won the Hugo and Nebula Awards and became the first bestselling Sci-Fi hardcover. There are few sequels to Dune; Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse Dune.Though I'm not much of a Sci-Fi fan, Dune changed my attitude, partly because it's not a typical SF. This epic story of a young man who needs to find his place not only on the new planet, so different from anything he knew before, and squeeze in the fact that he is the Messiah, the new Emperor, not to mention losing his father... It's so much more. A true coming of age novel.As odd as it may sound--I'm not a fan of Dune, but a fan of Frank Herbert. His writing style is compelling, dialogues intelligent and well-thought out,often cryptic and referring to events that are yet to happen.What particularly caught my interest is Herbert's way of shaping his characters. Fleshed out to tiniest details, they will have you care for them, whether you hate them or fret over their safety. Though Paul was annoying at moments, getting very self-important (okay, I get it, you're the one the whole universe is waiting for, but still...), he changes a lot by the second installment, Dune Messiah.Some editions actually put these two together, as one book, though I think separating them was a better decision; the tone is completely different, there is a twelve years gap between the ending of Dune and beginning of Dune Messiah, and, as I've mentioned, the tone changes extremely. Though I found Paul annoying in the first book, the second book sees him reconciling the bloody events his assertion has caused, and I felt a sort of sympathy for him. On the other hand, some characters I wanted to like turned out to be the bad guys. Another feather in Mr. Herbert's hat--each character has an agenda and his own means of achieving it, which only contributes to the amazing characterization.Oh...when it comes to romance...the romance between Alia and Duncan Idaho is just the cutest romance I have ever read about. And there are five sentences at most about it. Go figure.Of course I couldn't help myself comparing it to The Lord of the Rings. Both Tolkien and Herbert have managed to create fantastic worlds, very different though, yet both marvelous and seemingly spreading outside the boundaries of their covers. I've been paying a lot of attention to the difference in language. Tolkien's language is much more "colorful", with a brighter imagery than Herbert's. But Tolkien was a poet, a philologist, by nature prone to create vivid depictions of Middleearth. Herbert, on the other hand was a journalist (and an oyster diver, but that hardly matters here). The language of Dune is the language of politics, of diplomacy, often doublespeak and "gloved" speaking, completely suitable to the atmosphere of political games on Arrakis.Because of this, I recommend Dune to everyone. Taking into account what's sometimes being offered in the literature of today, with Dune I was actually reading English in its full beauty.Dune is rich with--not only melange--but with a deep philosophy of nature. Herbert discusses climate changes, conscious alteration of the atmosphere, even at a cost as great as destroying the most valuable thing Arrakis can offer--melange spice. It clearly shows how one man's meat can be another man's poison. Figuratively, of course. It's about water that is so scarce on Arrakis that they have to retrieve it from their dead.

Lolly's Library

I think most people don't particularly like this book, but I'm not sure why. Is it because Paul-Muad'Dib, Messiah, Emperor, God, is shown as a flawed human? Is it because we see that even with his awesome powers, he's still unable to map the future, to escape the future, the same as any ordinary human? We know Paul was never going to be perfect, was never going to be an angelic being or benevolent emperor; Frank Herbert told us that in "Dune." We know that Paul knew his destiny, knew the consequences of his actions, from the earliest moments; we can speculate that he might've even had the power to change the outcome, to escape the jihad fought in his name, to fling off the mantle of power that weighed upon him and turned his friends and companions into slavish minions, willing to do anything in the name of Muad'Dib. And yet he didn't. He continued on his course of actions, perhaps because, in his arrogance, he began to believe too much in his own mythology--Muad'Dib, the Kwisatz Haderch, the Lisan al-Gaib; perhaps he even grew to enjoy the trappings of power, underneath his disdain. And perhaps that is what truly destroyed him, in the end: recognition of his human-ness underneath the godhead. I found this book to be just as powerful as "Dune" as it explores what happens to the messiah once he is accepted and the changes he's wrought become routine and ritualized. It wasn't about the world-shaking changes he brought to everyone else; it was about the psyche-shaking changes his role brought to himself, the dark side of power that defines who and what we become.

Bob R Bogle

Dune Messiah, the second volume in Frank Herbert's most famous science fiction series, is the shortest of the six published books and therefore is a quick read. It has the most intricate plot of them all, which some deem impenetrable. Quite a few other fans, however, have reported it to be their favorite in the series. Even if you are numbered with the majority in the former camp, you must read Dune Messiah if for no other reason than to pave the way into the rest of the series. Either way, a devotee of or an antagonist against Dune Messiah, your efforts will be repaid.Herbert pressed multiple agendas in Dune, one of the most important being to illustrate the psychology of the mythic hero. Paul Atreides was a charismatic character essentially marching in lockstep with the algorithmic formula for guaranteed superhero production delineated by Joseph Campbell in Hero With a Thousand Faces. We readers were virtual participants in the process, and so by the end of the book Paul's triumphs were our triumphs. We shared in his heroic victory and could readily dismiss his own misgivings about what he had done and what he foresaw would be done in his name in the future.But Herbert was always interested much more in historic cycles than in the myth of steady linear progress, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Dune series, where history is better conceived as an ever-expanding spiral set against the background of infinite spacetime. Herbert assumed that the universe must always escape any structured attempt to understand it and cage it, and that the infinite reality awaiting beyond our collective ken must always recoil to bite us every time we conclude we've got the world figured out. The very setup for Paul's successes in Dune, then, must be viewed with suspicion. Indeed, Herbert conceived of the myth of the hero as a doomed trap lurking within the murky basements of human consciousness alongside the rusty machinery of our wish-fulfilling hopes and expectations. Reality has a way of obliterating all conservative definitions and assumptions; a simpler way of putting it: what goes up must come down. Thus everything we'd been led to assume to be true in Dune must find its antithesis in Dune Messiah in order for Herbert to teach us his lesson that the collective subconscious adulation for the hero is a toxic recipe for disaster. This is the whip that instructs in Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert's version of a Shakespearian tragedy.I myself am less concerned with Herbert's upending the myth of his superhero in this novel than I am with the plot mechanics by which that upending is achieved.It's helpful to understand that Herbert had already written some sections of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune before Dune itself was published. He knew where he was going, but not necessarily how to get there. Dune Messiah was a difficult novel for Herbert to write. Not only did it have to stand on its own merits as an independent novel, but more importantly to the greater myth-structure that Herbert was designing, it had to serve as a sort of switching station between the first and third books, which were more interesting to him. Herbert knew that by tearing down the character of Paul Atreides he would seriously disappoint many of the readers of Dune, who yearned for a hero who would continue to perform nobly and heroically, advancing steadily up a progressive linear history. But to accommodate the as-yet-unwritten third book, his readers' expectations must be subverted. Herbert envisioned Dune Messiah as a sort of necessary evil, an unpleasant medicine that must be quaffed before he could arrive at the next phase of the story cycle. Perhaps by understanding it in this light we can judge this novel to be more successful than we have any right to expect.To accommodate all these complex, warring goals, in Dune Messiah Herbert creates not a single conspiracy to accomplish Paul's downfall, but a tangle of multiple, competing conspiracies whose players harbor conflicting goals and ambitions. Brilliantly, Herbert never openly reveals this to be the case: the reader alone is left to do the legwork in this detective story without a detective. This is another reason many never fully appreciate this novel: an endless diet of action-adventure stories tends to condition us to expect that the author of a novel will spoon-feed us all the appropriate whos and what-fors in precisely the way life never works at all. Herbert declines to pander to these banal expectations. The main competing factions are the Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, the Bene Tleilaxu, and the Qizarate. I leave it to the reader to piece together how their competing motivations coalesce and harmonize into the drama of the book: I've given you the most important clue by pointing out that multiple simultaneous conspiracies exist, which is more than many readers ever successfully discern.If you like it, 'nuff said. If Dune Messiah isn't your cup of spice coffee, press on through, because the next two novels (at least) will blow your socks off.


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.


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.


** spoiler alert ** I hate to give a bad review to a book that is still considered a classic, but it really failed to live up to its predecessor. The original Dune featured a rich, textured universe populated with dynamic individuals and cultures, and part of the wonder of the book was the way the various cultures clashed with one another, and with those individuals who straddled multiple cultures. It was within this dynamic that Herbert inserted his messianic myth. Dune Messiah on the other hand, extends the tale but jettisons so much of the unique cultural background. Instead we have new characters to fill the gaps. Unfortunately, we don't really get any flavor for the sociology of the Guild or the Tleilaxu other than what we are told directly by the characters. The other element of the story, Paul Atraides' existential angst as a pawn of fate/destiny, I didn't find to be that compelling either. Still, there are some great scenes (the Face Dancer in the home of the disgruntled Fremen) and some interesting interactions (between Paul, Duncan and Alia).

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.


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.

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.


The whole thing with Paul being able to (view spoiler)[see after his eyes are burned out: (hide spoiler)] still cool. But on this, my third or fourth reading, I'm realizing there's not much to this book. It simply bridges the first and third. No Jessica, no war, no revolution, no emergence of a new messiah . . . eh.Also Alia has the potential to be such a fascinating character, but she's underused and underwritten. And I already know that in the next book she's going to be crazy and retconned half to death (which I can NEVER get used to, and which NEVER ceases to drive me bonkers), so this is our last chance to view mad, violent (yet in control of her own mind,) beautiful Alia. And there's such potential in that early scene with the practice droid, but then all she does is have visions and get pissed off at Duncan. Yawn.[Re-read in August of 2008. Initially read in . . . 2000? And re-read several times after that.]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

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.


So I thought Dune was the best thing since the bound codex, right? And I read it about five times over the course of my young-adulthood. And then I read Messiah and was pretty much completely dissatisfied. Not enough to give it a poor rating, since it is interesting (I mean, we all still care about Paul, even if he is a whiner) and it did keep my attention.You haven't seen foreshadowing until you've read Dune Messiah. It takes that to a whole new, grotesque level. And pretentiousness. Thought Dune was pretentious? Hah! This one makes Dune look like a chimney-sweep in comparison. It's as though Frank Herbert managed to make a blunt weapon out of pretentiousness and use it directly on the reader's mind.My final impression was of just another massive philosophical acid trip consisting of a bunch of people smarter than me bandying hints and portentous minutiae in the middle of a half-realized desert wonderland for over three hundred pages. And I didn't really care about Duncan Idaho, anyway, since he was only in Dune for like forty pages and he only spoke about twice. Telling me ten times in a row that Paul really really liked Idaho is not going to make me feel the same way about him, Frank Herbert!Now I'm afraid to read number three.

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.

Melee Farr

I'd have been amazed if this one was as phenomenal as the first, and it wasn't. It was, however, Frank Herbert, who surprises me with his philosophy and world vision all the time. Compared to Dune, though, this book just lacked a lot of protein. Perhaps it's because the incredibly rich new world of Dune/Arrakis was already in place, and I wasn't the wide-eyed, amazed traveler through it any longer, but it wasn't the page-turner of the last for me. Still, I'll read them all, and wish Frank Herbert was around so that I could buy him dinner and pick his brain.


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.

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