Dune Messiah, the second book in the Dune saga, is a dramatic departure from its Hugo and Nebula Awardwinning predecessor. The action and adventure in the first novel are replaced by a sort of internalized drama -- Paul Atreides (the messiah Muad'Dib) is the most powerful human in the known universe. He alone controls the spice melange, "the ultimate coin of the realm." Without spice, the Guild Steersmen can't navigate space; the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood's Reverend Mothers lose their powers. Without spice, billions of Imperial citizens could die from withdrawal.
One would expect an assortment of forces to conspire to take control of Atreides' immense power. Among those plotting to destroy him are the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, who are trying to create a royal offspring that they can control; the Guild, who are trying to steal a sandworm to start the spice cycle on another planet; and the Bene Tleilax, who have brought back Paul's weapons master, Duncan Idaho, from the dead by creating a ghola out of his flesh.
While Dune Messiah may not have received the critical acclaim that Dune did, it is just as masterfully written. In fact, once I finished the third book in the series, Children of Dune, I had a newfound respect for Dune Messiah. All the (small) concerns I had about unusual character developments and strange plot twists were all answered quite satisfactorily. Paul Goat Allen