Dune Messiah

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Dune Messiah is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, the second in a series of six novels. It was originally serialized in Galaxy magazine in 1969. The American and British editions have different prologues summarizing events in the previous novel. The novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were adapted by the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003 into a mini-series entitled Frank Herbert's Children of Dune. In 2002, the Science Fiction Book Club also published the two novels in one volume.[1]

Contents

Plot summary

Twelve years after the events described in Dune (1965), Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides rules as Emperor, following a jihad which conquered most of the human universe.[2] Paul unleashed this jihad by accepting the role of messiah to the Fremen. While Paul is the most powerful Emperor ever known, he is powerless to stop the lethal excesses of the religious juggernaut he has created. Although sixty-one billion people have perished, Paul's prescient visions indicate that this is far from the worst possible outcome for humanity. Motivated by this knowledge, Paul hopes to set humanity on a course that will not inevitably lead to stagnation and destruction, while at the same time acting as ruler of the Empire and focal point of the Fremen religion.

The Bene Gesserit, Spacing Guild and Tleilaxu enter into a conspiracy to dethrone Paul, the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam enlisting Paul's own consort Princess Irulan, daughter of the deposed Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. Paul has refused to father a child with Irulan (or even touch her), but his Fremen concubine Chani has also failed to produce an heir, causing tension within his monarchy. Desperate both to secure her place in the Atreides dynasty and to preserve the Atreides bloodline for the Bene Gesserit breeding program, Irulan has secretly been giving contraceptives to Chani; Paul is aware of this, but has foreseen that the birth of his heir will bring Chani's death, and does not want to lose her. With the Guild Navigator Edric shielding the conspiracy from Paul's prescience, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer Scytale gives Paul a gift he cannot resist: a Tleilaxu-grown ghola of Duncan Idaho, Paul's childhood teacher and friend, now called "Hayt". The conspirators hope the presence of Hayt will undermine Paul's ability to rule by forcing Paul to question himself and the empire he has created. Furthermore, Paul's acceptance of the gift weakens his support among the Fremen, who see the Tleilaxu and their tools as unclean. Chani, taking matters into her own hands, switches to a traditional Fremen fertility diet, preventing Irulan from being able to tamper with her food; she is soon pregnant.

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