Children of Dune is a 1976 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, third in a series of six novels set in his Dune universe. Initially selling over 75,000 copies, it became the first hardcover best-seller ever in the science fiction field. The novel was critically well-received for its gripping plot, action, and atmosphere, and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1977. It was originally serialized in Analog Science Fiction and Fact in 1976, and was the last Dune novel to be serialized before book publication. The novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were adapted into a well-received television miniseries entitled Frank Herbert's Children of Dune by the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003. In 2002, the Science Fiction Book Club also published the two novels in one volume.
At the end of Dune Messiah, Paul Atreides walks into the desert, a blind man, leaving his twin children Leto and Ghanima in the care of the Fremen, while his sister Alia rules the universe as regent. Awoken in the womb by the spice, the children are the heirs to Paul's prescient vision of the fate of the universe, a role that Alia desperately craves. House Corrino schemes to return to the throne, while the Bene Gesserit make common cause with the Tleilaxu and Spacing Guild to gain control of the spice and the children of Paul Atreides.
Dune traces the rise of Paul Muad’Dib, a young nobleman in an interstellar feudal empire who takes control of the single critical resource in the universe — the lifespan-enhancing, consciousness-expanding drug spice melange. As the first book closes, Paul has triumphed. His scheming, evil enemies are dead or overthrown, and he is set to take the reins of power and bring a hard but enlightened peace to the universe.
Herbert chose in the books that followed to undermine Paul’s triumph with a string of failures and philosophical paradoxes; Dune was a heroic melody, and Dune Messiah was its inversion. When the second novel, Dune Messiah, opens, Muad’Dib’s religion has sent his fanatical soldiers on an interstellar jihad, destroying the traditional structures of government and leaving billions dead. His vision of peace is corrupted by dogmatic religious bureaucrats, and his once-noble desert tribes, the Fremen?, grow fat and wealthy on the spoils of war and the de-desertification of Dune.
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