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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Nine years after Paul Muad'Dib disappeared blind into the deserts of Arrakis at the conclusion of Dune Messiah, his orphaned twins, Ghanima and Leto, are quickly growing up and realizing that they are pawns in an epic struggle for the ultimate power -- control of the Imperium. No one around them can be trusted, as evidenced by Alia, the twins' aunt and official guardian, who has become the Abomination so many feared she would be. She is, in fact, possessed by ancestral voices inside her mind, and one in particular -- the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen -- is pushing her to fulfill her darkest prophecies.
Conspiracies abound in this novel as the cult of Muad'Dib and the post-Paul governmental brain trust seem to be rotting from within. Sensing weakness, greedy factions -- like the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood and House Corrino -- converge on Arrakis to destroy House Atreides once and for all.
Easily the most memorable character in the first sequence of Dune novels is the Preacher, a mysterious prophet introduced in Children of Dune. The blind old man (who may or may not be Paul Muad'Dib) speaks out against the policies of Alia's regency and deplores the way the Fremen culture has become twisted in so little time. Using such a wise, all-knowing character, in my opinion, enabled Herbert to be more didactic in his writing without being too obvious. Through the words of the Preacher, the ecological and evolutionary themes running throughout the first three Dune novels become crystal clear -- a wonderfully emotional conclusion to a brilliant trilogy. Paul Goat Allen