Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2)

ISBN: 0441172695
ISBN 13: 9780441172696
By: Frank Herbert

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About this book

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


** 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.


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.


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


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.

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 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.


1.5 Stars, really. I was fantastically underwhelmed by Dune Messiah, especially after coming off the particularly good Dune. Whereas the first book in the series seemed well-structured and thought out, it’s follow-up seemed to rely much more heavily on cobbled together circumstances, none of which seemed nearly as dire as they were being made out to be.The first book was thick with detail, intonation, and suggestion, but in spite of this, the careful reader always had a clear understanding of the implications of actions and events and where the narrative was progressing. In the sequel, though, the intonation and suggestion remained (the detail, not so much) but there was no real thing to connect these elements to—nothing substantive in the narrative department.Dune Messiah begins twelve years following the conclusion of Dune and the Jihad has taken place and Paul and his Fremen followers rule the universe. Would that this meant anything to the reader. There’s simply no effort made to explore what this means or what the implications are. It simply is. We also find Paul increasingly stricken by his powers of prognostication, and I think Herbert does a decent job of trying to emphasize the pain and stress suffered by one who sees future outcomes, and how reliant you can become on these visions. Still, while the novel tells us on one hand that Paul essentially sees all things, the plot hinges on him not seeing some things (although at times he seems clearly aware of them). At other times, his visions are incomplete—flawed. There really seems no consensus on where his power lies or whether he uses it appropriately or not.Lastly, the relationships between characters (which was such a strength in the first novel) are hardly addressed at all. Relationships that would necessarily be strained to the breaking point are only hinted at. Motivations are unknown. Emotions are not expressed. In a novel where all the characters live inside themselves, there can be no communication between them. And if that’s the state of the relationship, then who cares?I’m debating whether or not to continue with this series. I’ll likely try to read through Children of Dune, but if I start reading it and see more of the same that existed in Dune Messiah, I’ll be hanging this one up for good.


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"]>


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.

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.

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