Consumer note: I actually own the 1984 hardcover (picked off a remainder shelf for $4.98), but its ISBN doesn't give me an accurate cover image. So clicking on the cover will take you to the Kindle page at Amazon.
Continuing my "reread/read Frank Herbert's Dune series" project. This is number five out of six, previous entries here, here, here, and here. My enjoyment is monotonically decreasing, volume by volume. I won't repeat my observations from previous books, but the negative ones apply here to an even greater extent.
I can't help but think of 1980s Frank Herbert, cursing himself for signing a contract requiring him to deliver a 480-page Dune book.
This book is set 1500 years after the events of the previous book, which ended with the demise of Leto II, Paul Atreides' son, who self-transformed into a monstrous human/sandworm hybrid. In between, there's been massive famine, followed by an even more massive migration of humanity into unknown reaches of the galaxy. And now people are returning to known space from that "Scattering", and not all of them are nice.
Most of the action takes place on Arrakis (now called "Rakis" for some reason) and the old home planet of the Harkonnens, Giedi Prime (now called "Gemmu" for some reason). A returning character (of sorts) is a Duncan Idaho ghola, the latest in a long series of Tleilaxu reincarnations of an Atreides fighter who didn't make it through the first book. Another interesting character is Sheeana, who is able to control the Rakis sandworms. The manipulative Bene Gesserit have designs on both the ghola and Sheeana. There are Fish Speakers and Face Dancers. (Or is that Fish Dancers and Face Speakers?) There's a lot of intrigue, violence, and (I think) a noticeable uptick in sex. (Because of the breeding.)
There's also a lot of people talking, in the usual pretentious way, interspersed with inner monologizing. Italics and exclamation points! They are rife.
Sigh. One more to go.