Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world’s savior, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity’s future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him near immortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past thirty-five hundred years.
Leto’s rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has made not only his appearance but his morality inhuman. A rebellion, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family, has risen to oppose the despot’s rule. But Siona is unaware that Leto’s vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted—or could possibly conceive....
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About the Author
In 1952, Herbert began publishing science fiction with “Looking for Something?” in Startling Stories. But his emergence as a writer of major stature did not occur until 1965, with the publication of Dune. Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune followed, completing the saga that the Chicago Tribune would call “one of the monuments of modern science fiction.” Herbert is also the author of some twenty other books, including The White Plague, The Dosadi Experiment, and Destination: Void. He died in 1986.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from the speech by Hadi Benotto announcing the discoveries at Dar-es-Balat on the planet of Rakis:
It not only is my pleasure to announce to you this morning our discovery of this marvelous storehouse containing, among other things, a monumental collection of manuscripts inscribed on ridulian crystal paper, but I also take pride in giving you our arguments for the authenticity of our discoveries, to tell you why we believe we have uncovered the original journals of Leto II, the God Emperor.
First, let me recall to you the historical treasure which we all know by the name of The Stolen Journals, those volumes of known antiquity which over the centuries have been so valuable in helping us to understand our ancestors. As you all know, The Stolen Journals were deciphered by the Spacing Guild, and the method of the Guild Key was employed to translate these newly discovered volumes. No one denies the antiquity of the Guild Key and it, and it alone, translates these volumes.
Second, these volumes were printed by an Ixian dictatel of truly ancient make. The Stolen Journals leave no doubt that this was in fact the method employed by Leto II to record his historical observations.
Third, and we believe that this is equal in portent to the actual discovery, there is the storehouse itself. The repository for these journals is an undoubted Ixian artifact of such primitive and yet marvelous construction that it is sure to throw new light on the historical epoch known as "The Scattering." As was to be expected, the storehouse was invisible. It was buried far deeper than myth and the Oral History had led us to expect and it emitted radiation and absorbed radiation to simulate the natural character of its surroundings, a mechanical mimesis which is not surprising of itself. What has surprised our engineers, however, is the way this was done with the most rudimentary and truly primitive mechanical skills.
I can see that some of you are as excited by this as we were. We believe we are looking at the first Ixian Globe, the no-room from which all such devices evolved. If it is not actually the first, we believe it must be one of the first and embodying the same principles as the first.
Let me address your obvious curiosity by assuring you that we will take you on a brief tour of the storehouse presently. We will ask only that you maintain silence while within the storehouse because our engineers and other specialists are still at work there unraveling the mysteries.
Which brings me to my fourth point, and this may well be the capstone of our discoveries. It is with emotions difficult to describe that I reveal to you now another discovery at this site-namely, actual oral recordings which are labeled as having been made by Leto II in the voice of his father, Paul Muad'Dib. Since authenticated recordings of the God Emperor are lodged in the Bene Gesserit Archives, we have sent a sampling of our recordings, all of which were made on an ancient microbubble system, to the Sisterhood with a formal request that they conduct a comparison test. We have little doubt that the recordings will be authenticated.
Now, please turn your attention to the translated excerpts which were handed to you as you entered. Let me take this opportunity to apologize for their weight. I have heard some of you joking about that. We used ordinary paper for a practical reason-economy. The original volumes are inscribed in symbols so small that they must be magnified substantially before they can be read. In fact, it requires more than forty ordinary volumes of the type you now hold just to reprint the contents of one of the ridulian crystal originals.
If the projector-yes. We are now projecting part of an original page onto the screen at your left. This is from the first page of the first volume. Our translation is on the screens to the right. I call your attention to the internal evidence, the poetic vanity of the words as well as the meaning derived from the translation. The style conveys a personality which is identifiable and consistent. We believe that this could only have been written by someone who had the direct experience of ancestral memories, by someone laboring to share that extraordinary experience of previous lives in a way that could be understood by those not so gifted.
Look now at the actual meaning content. All of the references accord with everything history has told us about the one person whom we believe is the only person who could have written such an account.
We have another surprise for you now. I have taken the liberty of inviting the well-known poet, Rebeth Vreeb, to share the platform with us this morning and to read from this first page a short passage of our translation. It is our observation that, even in translation, these words take on a different character when read aloud. We want to share with you a truly extraordinary quality which we have discovered in these volumes.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rebeth Vreeb.
From the reading by Rebeth Vreeb:
I assure you that I am the book of fate.
Questions are my enemies. For my questions explode! Answers leap up like a frightened flock, blackening the sky of my inescapable memories. Not one answer, not one suffices.
What prisms flash when I enter the terrible field of my past. I am a chip of shattered flint enclosed in a box. The box gyrates and quakes. I am tossed about in a storm of mysteries. And when the box opens, I return to this presence like a stranger in a primitive land.
Slowly (slowly, I say) I relearn my name.
But that is not to know myself!
This person of my name, this Leto who is the second of that calling, finds other voices in his mind, other names and other places. Oh, I promise you (as I have been promised) that I answer to but a single name. If you say, "Leto," I respond. Sufferance makes this true, sufferance and one thing more:
I hold the threads!
All of them are mine. Let me but imagine a topic-say...men who have died by the sword-and I have them in all of their gore, every image intact, every moan, every grimace.
Joys of motherhood, I think, and the birthing beds are mine. Serial baby smiles and the sweet cooings of new generations. The first walkings of the toddlers and the first victories of youths brought forth for me to share. They tumble one upon another until I can see little else but sameness and repetition.
"Keep it all intact," I warn myself.
Who can deny the value of such experiences, the worth of learning through which I view each new instant?
Ahhh, but it's the past.
Don't you understand?
It's only the past!
This morning I was born in a yurt at the edge of a horse-plain in a land of a planet which no longer exists. Tomorrow I will be born someone else in another place. I have not yet chosen. This morning, though-ahhh, this life! When my eyes had learned to focus, I looked out at sunshine on trampled grass and I saw vigorous people going about the sweet activities of their lives. Where...oh where has all of that vigor gone?
-the stolen journals
The three people running northward through moon shadows in the Forbidden Forest were strung out along almost half a kilometer. The last runner in the line ran less than a hundred meters ahead of the pursuing D-wolves. The animals could be heard yelping and panting in their eagerness, the way they do when they have the prey in sight.
With First Moon almost directly overhead, it was quite light in the forest and, although these were the higher latitudes of Arrakis, it was still warm from the heat of a summer day. The nightly drift of air from the Last Desert of the Sareer carried resin smells and the damp exhalations of the duff underfoot. Now and again, a breeze from the Kynes Sea beyond the Sareer drifted across the runners' tracks with hints of salt and fishes.
By a quirk of fate, the last runner was called Ulot, which in the Fremen tongue means "Beloved Straggler." Ulot was short in stature and with a tendency to fat which had placed an extra dieting burden on him in training for this venture. Even when slimmed down for their desperate run, his face remained round, the large brown eyes vulnerable in that suggestion of too much flesh.
To Ulot it was obvious that he could not run much farther. He panted and wheezed. Occasionally, he staggered. But he did not call out to his companions. He knew they could not help him. All of them had taken the same oath, knowing they had no defenses except the old virtues and Fremen loyalties. This remained true even though everything that once had been Fremen had now a museum quality-rote recitals learned from Museum Fremen.
It was Fremen loyalty that kept Ulot silent in the full awareness of his doom. A fine display of the ancient qualities, and rather pitiful when none of the runners had any but book knowledge and the legends of the Oral History about the virtues they aped.
The D-wolves ran close behind Ulot, giant gray figures almost man-height at the shoulders. They leaped and whined in their eagerness, heads lifted, eyes focused on the moon-betrayed figure of their quarry.
A root caught Ulot's left foot and he almost fell. This gave him renewed energy. He put on a burst of speed, gaining perhaps a wolf-length on his pursuers. His arms pumped. He breathed noisily through his open mouth.
The D-wolves did not change pace. They were silver shadows which went flick-flick through the loud green smells of their forest. They knew they had won. It was a familiar experience.
Again, Ulot stumbled. He caught his balance against a sapling and continued his panting flight, gasping, his legs trembling in rebellion against these demands. No energy remained for another burst of speed.
One of the D-wolves, a large female, moved out on Ulot's left flank. She swerved inward and leaped across his path. Giant fangs ripped Ulot's shoulder and staggered him but he did not fall. The pungency of blood was added to the forest smells. A smaller male caught his right hip and at last Ulot fell, screaming. The pack pounced and his screams were cut off in abrupt finality.
Not stopping to feed, the D-wolves again took up the chase. Their noses probed the forest floor and the vagrant eddies in the air, scenting the warm tracery of two more running humans.
The next runner in the line was named Kwuteg, an old and honorable name on Arrakis, a name from the Dune times. An ancestor had served Sietch Tabr as Master of the Deathstills, but that was more than three thousand years lost in a past which many no longer believed. Kwuteg ran with the long strides of a tall and slender body which seemed perfectly fitted to such exertion. Long black hair streamed back from his aquiline features. As with his companions, he wore a black running suit of tightly knitted cotton. It revealed the workings of his buttocks and stringy thighs, the deep and steady rhythm of his breathing. Only his pace, which was markedly slow for Kwuteg, betrayed the fact that he had injured his right knee coming down from the man-made precipices which girdled the God Emperor's Citadel fortress in the Sareer.
Kwuteg heard Ulot's screams, the abrupt and potent silence, then the renewed chase-yelps of the D-wolves. He tried not to let his mind create the image of another friend being slain by Leto's monster guardians but imagination worked its sorcery on him. Kwuteg thought a curse against the tyrant but wasted no breath to voice it. There remained a chance that he could reach the sanctuary of the Idaho River. Kwuteg knew what his friends thought about him-even Siona. He had always been known as a conservative. Even as a child he had saved his energy until it counted most, parceling out his reserves like a miser.
In spite of the injured knee, Kwuteg increased his pace. He knew the river was near. His injury had gone beyond agony into a steady flame which filled his entire leg and side with its burning. He knew the limits of his endurance. He knew also that Siona should be almost at the water. The fastest runner of them all, she carried the sealed packet and, in it, the things they had stolen from the fortress in the Sareer. Kwuteg focused his thoughts on that packet as he ran.
Save it, Siona! Use it to destroy him!
The eager whining of the D-wolves penetrated Kwuteg's consciousness. They were too close. He knew then that he would not escape.
But Siona must escape!
He risked a backward glance and saw one of the wolves move to flank him. The pattern of their attack plan imprinted itself on his awareness. As the flanking wolf leaped Kwuteg also leaped. Placing a tree between himself and the pack, he ducked beneath the flanking wolf, grasped one of its hind legs in both hands and, without stopping, whirled the captive wolf as a flail which scattered the others. Finding the creature not as heavy as he had expected, almost welcoming the change of action, he flailed his living bludgeon at the attackers in a dervish whirl which brought two of them down in a crash of skulls. But he could not guard every side. A lean male caught him in the back, hurling him against a tree and he lost his bludgeon.
"Go!" he screamed.
The pack bored in and Kwuteg caught the throat of the lean male in his teeth. He bit down with every gram of his final desperation. Wolf blood spurted over his face, blinding him. Rolling without any knowledge of where he went, Kwuteg grappled another wolf. Part of the pack dissolved into a yelping, whirling mob, some turning against their own injured. Most of the pack remained intent on the quarry, though. Teeth ripped Kwuteg's throat from both sides.
Siona, too, had heard Ulot scream, then the unmistakable silence followed by the yelping of the pack as the wolves resumed the chase. Such anger filled her that she felt she might explode with it. Ulot had been included in this venture because of his analytical ability, his way of seeing a whole from only a few parts. It had been Ulot who, taking the inevitable magnifier from his kit, had examined the two strange volumes they had found in with the Citadel's plans.
"I think it's a cipher," Ulot had said.