In the third installment of the Dune saga Arrakis, though green and growing now, is in disarray. Alia, Paul's sister, has succumbed to "abomination,"possessed by the spirit of her dead grandfather, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Paul's twin children, Leto and Ghanima, are uncertain of their future and end up running for their lives, fearful of Alia and her cohorts. Trusts are broken, unities scattered, and the destiny of the fledgling planet far from secure. Amid the chaos, rumors arise from the desert that the Preacher calling for reform and adherence to the old ways while adapting them to current need is none other than Paul Muad'Dib, returned from his self-exile.
Children of Dune recaptures the glory and epic sweep of the first novel. Filled with action, romance and philosophical speculation, this is the final chapter in the greatest science fiction series ever written. Exploring the reality of corruption—political, religious, moral—Herbert demonstrates the impossibility of true utopia among humans. Ambition and self-glorification begin to deteriorate the ethical foundations of once-strong characters as the possibility of unlimited power becomes more apparent. Family turns against family, friends against friends, lovers against lovers, all in the name of advancement and renown.
This is sci-fi at its best—desert chases, attacks from strange beasts, exotic landscapes, rich cultures, bizarre characters. Frank Herbert understood that the role of a novelist was not only to impart wisdom and understanding, but to do so in as entertaining a way as possible. Children of Dune accomplishes both goals. In the process, the novel is raised from the frankly suspect ranks of mere science fiction to the respectable and important realm of quality literature.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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