The holy war of Paul-Muad'dib has ended, and Paul, blinded by an assassination attempt, has disappeared into the deserts of Arrakis and is feared dead. His sister Alia rules as regent for Paul's twins Leto and Ghanima and seems bent on encouraging the deification of her brother, while Paul's mother, Atreides retainers Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho, and a former friend-turned-critic strive to remember the imperfect man rather than the flawless emperor. Filling in the gaps between the late Frank Herbert's classic Dune and its sequels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, coauthors Herbert and Anderson focus on the reaction to Paul Atreides's success and the human cost of victory. VERDICT This sequel to Paul of Dune is an important addition to the Dune chronology and will be in demand by Herbert fans. [Coauthor Anderson makes his fantasy debut with The Edge of the World, reviewed in LJXpress 6/19/09.—Ed.]
With all the main events of Frank Herbert's Dune universe now in the bag, all that remains is for his team of successors (Paul of Dune, 2008, etc.) to fill out the corners. Chronologically, this one picks up immediately following Dune Messiah. The Mentat Emperor and omniscient Kwisatz Haderach Paul Atreides, blinded by an atomic weapon and no longer commanding his oracular vision, has walked off into the sands and is presumed dead. Paul's Bene Gesserit mother Jessica and warrior-troubadour Gurney Halleck return from Caladan to assist 16-year-old regent Alia. Duncan Idaho, the swordmaster ghola, clearly has regained all his former memories and will wed Alia in due course. Alia releases the Corrino princess Irulan, Paul's wife, from a dungeon and orders her to help counteract the propaganda spread by elusive gadfly Bronso of Ix. What Jessica knows, and Alia doesn't, is that Bronso was once Paul's boyhood friend (their story is told in flashback) and that Paul charged Bronso with the very task that Alia now condemns him for. The Dune juggernaut rolls on; pity it didn't occur to Brian and Kevin that the reason Frank didn't write Dune Messiah through Children of Dune as a continuous saga was that little of significance or interest occurs in the interim. Slim pickings, even for Dune fanatics.