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Dune by Frank Herbert     Five Stars
The sweeping tale of a desert planet called Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, the "spice of spices." Melange is necessary for interstellar travel and grants psychic powers and longevity, so whoever controls it wields great influence. The troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from House Harkonnen to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don't want to give up their privilege, though, and through sabotage and treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. There he falls in with the Fremen, a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. Paul Atreides, though, is far more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human, he might be the messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people and events, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium.

This second instalment explores new developments on the desert planet Arrakis, with its intricate social order and its strange threatening environment. We pick up the story of Maud'dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale: the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men. But the question is: Do all paths of glory lead to the grave?

Children of Dune is the third book in the six book Dune series. The first three form a trilogy, essentially the biography of Paul Atreides and his family. Here, the children of Paul and Chani assert their unusual powers, the result of centuries of breeding for super-humans by the Bene Gesserit. But don't count out House Corrino, the house of the defeated Emperor Shaddam. They are back to conspire some more against House Atreides.

Centuries have passed and Dune is green with life. Leto II, the son of Dune's saviour, is still alive but far from human. He has become a human-sandworm creature, ruling over his angry and frustrated empire with his vast legions of women soldiers, enforcing peace for dozens of generations to teach the universe a lesson, while waiting for the right time to turn Dune back into a desert planet. The fate of all humanity hangs on Leto's awesome sacrifice.

On Arrakis, now called Rakis, known to legend as Dune, ten times ten centuries have passed. The planet is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax struggle to direct the future of Dune. The children of Dune's children awaken as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love.

The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed. Now the Bene Gesserit, heirs to Dune's powers, have colonized a green world and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. The Bene Gesserit sisterhood is under siege, threatened by and at war with the Honoured Matres, a somewhat darker version of their own organization, that is sweeping viciously across the galaxy like a barbarian horde.

In the far future, a duke and his family are sent by the Emperor to a sand world from which comes a spice that is essential for interstellar travel. The move is designed to destroy the duke and his family, but his son escapes and seeks revenge as he uses the world's ecology as one of his weapons. There is some new material in the 14 minutes of deleted scenes offering a bit more background into the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, the Kwisatz Haderach prophecy and the Fremen culture and their struggle.

In the far future, a duke and his family are sent by the Emperor to a sand world from which comes a spice that is essential for interstellar travel. The move is designed to destroy the duke and his family, but his son escapes and seeks revenge as he uses the world's ecology as one of his weapons.

Dune is a sumptuous treat for the eyes, with sets and costumes that were conceived with no apparent limits of budget or creativity. In terms of architecture alone, this is one of the most impressive films in science fiction history. And although the special effects fall short of feature-film quality, writer-director Harrison admirably tames the sprawling narrative that pits the opposing houses of Atreides and Harkonnen in a struggle to control the lucrative market for the spice melange. This is as accurate as any Dune adaptation is likely to get.

Maud'Dib, Arrakis Emperor Paul Atreides has become the unintended figurehead of a violent dictatorship, and his enemies are multiplying. Vanishing into the desert, he waits as destiny shapes his twin heirs Leto II and Ghanima, who must contend with their scheming aunt Alia while Princess Wensicia, of the enemy House Corrino, plots her own attack on Maud'Dib's familial empire. Exiled Atreides matriarch Lady Jessica returns to Arrakis, where the enormous, desert-dwelling sandworms face an uncertain future. As always, the spice must flow, and the universe's most coveted commodity remains at the centre of this richly detailed and physically impressive production.

This chronicles the early life of Leto Atreides, prince of a minor House in the galactic Imperium. Leto comes to confront the realities of power when House Vernius is betrayed in an imperial plot involving a quest for an artificial substitute to melange, a substance vital to interstellar trade that is found only on the planet Dune. Meanwhile, House Harkonnen schemes to bring Leto into conflict with the Tleilax, and the Bene Gesserit manipulate Baron Harkonnen as part of a plan stretching back 100 generations. In the Imperial palace, treason is afoot, and on Dune itself, planetologist Pardot Kynes embarks on a secret project to transform the desert world into a paradise.

As the young Duke Leto Atreides seeks to live up to his late father's expectations, his rivals plot to bring about the downfall of House Atreides. Plots and counterplots involving the debauched Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, his Bene Gesserit enemies, and the treacherous schemers of the enigmatic Bene Tleilax escalate the tension among factions of a fragile galactic empire. Though power seems to reside in the hands of the emperor and his elite armies, the fate of many worlds hinges on the destiny of a single planet, the desert world known as Arrakis, or Dune.

Emperor Shaddam Corrino tries to grasp greater power than any emperor before him and to rule the Million Worlds solely according to his whims. On the captured planet Ix, the research Shaddam directs into the creation of a synthetic spice, amal, that will make him all-powerful spirals out of control, putting the entire civilization at risk. Meanwhile, the enslavers of Ix must contend with threats from exiled Prince Rhombur Vernius, who wishes to rule the planet instead. Tumultuous times are also in store for the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, whose breeding plan has been thrown off course one generation shy of its end. Tension between the houses Atreides and Harkonnen builds to a dramatic showdown.

Ten thousand years before the fall of the Imperial House Corrino, two grand interplanetary organizations ruled the known universe: the Synchronized Worlds, presided over by thinking machines led by the evermind called Omnius, and the League of Nobles, beleaguered survivors of the machines' revolt against the Old Empire. In this era, a few individuals determined to overturn the rule of the machines sought every opportunity to gain insights into ways to defeat the human race's most intractable enemy. Selim tastes and learns the visionary power of the magical spice, melange, and how the future of Arrakis hinges on who controls it. At the same time, on planets far removed from the desolate dunes of Arrakis, others are involved in a Great Revolt. Free League World humans, led by Tercero Xavier Harkonnen and Serena Butler of Salusa Secundus, battle Omnius. The ominous Omnius seeks to conquer all planets not yet incorporated into his Synchronized Worlds system with the help of servile robotic extensions and colleagues, including Erasmus, a Thinking Machine.

 
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