On Thursday, July 23rd, the Dune Book Club met and discussed God Emperor of Dune, the fourth book in Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga.
God Emperor of Dune is probably one of the hardest of Herbert’s six books to get into. So, if you didn’t finish it, don’t fret, you’re not alone. This brief review will get you caught up so that you can jump right to Heretics of Dune, which stands in stark contrast to God Emperor. Compared to Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune, there is relatively little action in God Emperor of Dune and significantly more philosophizing. Chronologically, God Emperor takes a 3,500 year leap into the future from where Children of Dune leaves off. Leto II, Paul’s son, now fully merged with the sand trout, has become a seemingly invincible, all-knowing, human/sandworm hybrid. Over the past 3,500 years, Leto has forced humanity into subjugation, thwarting all attempts to overthrow him in order to keep humanity on what he refers to as “The Golden Path.” Duncan Idaho, thanks to Bene Tleilaxian cloning technology, has been resurrected as a Ghola thousands of times to serve as Leto’s constant companion and a kind of anchor to the shorter time span on which his subjects function (compared to the massive time scale on which Leto functions).
(Spoilers begin now) With the assistance of the latest Duncan Ghola, Siona (the result of a millennia-long guiding breeding beginning with the union of Leto’s twin sister Ghanima and Farad’n Corrino) assassinates Leto, sending him to the bottom of a ravine where the sand trout detach from his body and dissipate into the sand–which turns out to be part of Leto’s Golden Path. The results of his death are varied and include a severe depletion of spice, the introduction of humans who are immune to prescience, and the scattering of people to new worlds as humanity tries to rebuild out of the shadow of the tyrant Leto. The introduction of “no-” machines means that many people can be shielding from prescience, and with the thousands sons and daughters of Duncan and Siona, humanity is on it’s way to never being ruled by future sight ever again. (Spoilers end now)
For anyone who had a hard time getting through this book, I truly understand. Though it is my second favorite in the series, it is not for most people. It’s very philosophical and much slower paced than the other books. Leto does A LOT of talking and it can sometimes seem like he’s saying the same thing over again. However, I think it may be the most important book in the series because it sets up the whole second half of Herbert’s narrative and really gives you great insight into what the whole Dune Saga is about. It’s very rewarding if you’re able to get past the tedium, and most importantly it gets you into the next book, Heretics of Dune, which is my favorite book of the six.
Our next meeting is on August 27th at 7pm at which we’ll be discussing Heretics of Dune. Happy reading!