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Children of Dune – Frank Herbert

by Venky

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The third instalment of the legendary Dune series, “Children of Dune” maintains the same gripping tempo that were the preserve of its predecessors. Feints within feints within feints, plots within plots within plots and intrigue overlaying intrigue leave the reader reeling with an inevitable sense of incredulity! The complex maze of intricacies bear stellar testament to the extraordinarily meticulous research conducted by the author during the course of conceiving this series, which is nothing short of a tour de force!

It is nine years since Paul Atreides has vanished into the vast and scorching bowels of the Arakkis dunes. The former Emperor, reverentially known as Paul Muad’Dib has left behind in his absence, an irreparable vacuum. The reigns of House Atreides is taken over by Paul’s sibling Alia. Where Paul was a Messiah, Alia is a manipulator. After having fallen prey to the spice mélange, Alia rules with an iron fist brooking no opposition. However, standing in the path of Alia’s insatiable lust for power is a pair of innocuous faces.

Leto and Ghanima Atreides, twins and the offspring of Paul Muad’Dib are bestowed with supernatural powers. These powers, uncannily similar to those possessed by their father send a chill down the spine of even the formidable Alia. Even though tender in age and constitution, Leto and Ghanima are a dangerous compendium of bottomless knowledge and a serrated fount of ruthlessness. The twins would do whatever it takes to prevent their manic aunt crossing the threshold of tolerable impetuosity.

Arrakis is also facing a two-pronged danger. While an internal rebellion amongst the Fremen is beginning to birth the stirrings of a headache for Alia, the opportunistic House Corrino deciding that the time is ripe for a mutiny prepares itself to mount a bid for the Lion Throne. Prince Farad’n under the able tutelage of his brave Sardaukar lieutenant, Tyekanik makes an audacious attempt to hold the Reverend Mother Jessica and Alia’s Ghola Mentat husband Duncan Idaho ‘captive’ with an objective of prising out the Bene Gesserit secrets from Jessica.

Things come to a boiling head when an insider from House Corrino puts into motion an insidious plot to murder the Atreides Twins by letting loose two of the most ferocious desert tigers of their ilk in the path of Leto and Ghanima. Will brother and sister escape this insurmountable peril? Can House Atreides overcome not just its own internecine squabble but also the powerful conspiracy, courtesy House Corrino? Can the maniacal Alia be reined in or is the only hope for House Atreides a forced regime change?

“Children of Dune” is bouncy, pacy, twisty journey across sand dunes and conflicted human souls. A journey that is cathartic in its sweep and revelatory in its wake. A journey whose destination represents only the beginning. A journey pregnant with purpose and mired in meaning. Above all else, it is a journey paying unabashed homage to the raw and limitless power of human imagination!

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