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God Emperor of Dune
Dune #4
by Frank Herbert
G.P. Putnam., 411pp
Published 1981

See my earlier reviews of the other books in this famous series.

This book took another five years to publish after "Children of Dune" and I can only guess it's because Herbert was searching for a plot.  It's even more simplistic than the preceding novels and yet it does manage to advance the story arc.

It's been 3500 years since the events in "Children of Dune" and I cannot imagine how tedious the centuries were for Leto when events just replicated themselves over and over again.  It is also unfathomable why he persisted in replicating Duncan Idaho when the man never fundamentally changed; it appeared that Leo was waiting for an Idaho who actually did something different…another definition of insanity.  And yet this is what happened finally.

The other singular event in this book was that the Tleilaxu created a perfect mate for Leo.  While the woman knew exactly what she was intended for and Leto knew perfectly well that she was engineered specifically for him, it didn't stop him from falling in love for the first time.  What was never made clear was the intention of the Tleilaxu: were they planning an assassination? A coup? A corruption of Leto's Golden Path?  None of which would have been agreeable to the woman, Hwi.

According to Leto's vision, humanity needed another 500 years to insure its perpetual existence so this reader didn't quite grasp the ramifications of the ultimate betrayal that disrupted…everything.  I suppose we were meant to worry that with Leto's demise, the human race might also die.  The climax was telegraphed early on so there were no real surprises.  This book would have benefited from a secondary story line.  I dimly remember a fondness for the next two books so I hope they stand the test of time.  ~~ Catherine Book

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