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Title: God Emperor of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #4
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Dune is transformed. The worms are gone. The Spice is a dwindling product handed out each decade by the God Emperor from his private stores. Leto is now a pre-worm and 3500 years old. Mentats are outlawed and gone. The Fremen no longer really exist. The Tleilaxu grow Duncan Idahoes for Leto. Leto has taken control of Bene Geserit breeding program. The Ixians supply Leto with technology while experimenting on their own.
There is peace. The Great Houses are gone. Populations reside on their own planets and enjoy a level of living that has been unheard of before. Leto’s Fish Speakers, an all female army, provide whatever force is needed should a situation arise.
Leto is fermenting humanity. Trying to change it from the inside out. He sees the glimmer of this in Siona Atreides, who is currently leading the rebellion against him. She can fade from his pre-sight, which means that her descendants will free humanity from the curse of prescience and prophecy.
Of course, Leto has enemies. The Tleilaxu plot his overthrow with their face dancers. The Ixians are breeding a human who is the perfect fit for Leto, and who they will control. Siona co-opts the current Duncan and they are figuring out how to kill Leto.
Leto also knows that when he dies, his body will release sand trout that will begin the desertification of Dune once again and bring back the worms and the spice in a couple of hundred years.
This version that I read had an introduction by Frank’s son, Brian. While I normally hold my nose at the travesty he and that son of a goat Anderson created with the Dune prequels, I did find this introduction extremely enlightening and helpful. It prepared me for the kind of book this would be.
This felt like a play, with Leto II being front and center and soloquizing for most of the book. A lot of action happens, a lot of information is told, but it is all off stage, as it were. Leto talks. A lot. With his Major Domo, Moneo Atriedes [Siona’s father], with The Duncan, with Siona, with the love of his life Hwi.
Hwi. Now there is pathos. To have someone built to love you and to have them built so as to attract you. It is redeemed from pablum by Hwi knowing all of this and still choosing Leto over her Ixian masters. She does love Leto, willingly and unwillingly.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read, yet again.
However. If someone were to read this book and call it boring, dialogue heavy or unenjoyable, I would not try to correct them. Leto constantly tries to push other characters into understanding by asking them questions instead of answering their questions. Leto does that a lot and it can be frustrating. There were a couple of times that I wanted to shake him and shout “Just answer his question, you gigantic jerk!”. This was an idea book but those ideas were not all nicely queued up like bowling pins in an alley. They were disguised, hidden, scattered. It was frustrating and I will not deny that. I don’t think it is a weakness of the book or the writing though. It was deliberate. Herbert wanted his readers to think and thinking can be hard work at times.
This was a re-read book, like all the other Dune Chronicles books I’m reading. My first recorded instance of reading it was only back in ’12. However, I know I read it in highschool and in Bibleschool at least 3 times. So this is my fifth time? The fact that I’m still frustrated with it and yet enjoying it so much says a lot about the quality of the writing.