Based on the polar nature of the first two books in the Dune series, Paul’s ascension in Dune and his descent in Dune Messiah, not much would seem left to be told in the House Atreides saga. Publishing Children of Dune in 1976, ten years after Dune, Frank Herbert proved there was still more to tell, telling a solid, not spectacular tale that has some big shoes to fill if it is to live up to the success of Dune.
With Paul having been cast blind into the desert at the conclusion of Dune Messiah, Children of Dune opens roughly a decade later with Alia on the throne and caring for Paul and Chani’s twins, Leto II and Ghanima. Fearing she is an abomination due to the ghost of Baron Harkonnen living inside of her, Alia’s psychological stability takes blow after blow, a fact not helped by the re-emergence of Paul’s mother, the Benne-Gesserit Lady Jessica, at court. Arrakis terraforming continuing apace, the desert is being reclaimed, the planet greener by the day. Leto, realizing the threat this represents to the sandworms, goes into the desert in an attempt to save the spice producing beasts, leaving his family behind in the process. Topping all of this, House Corinno once again plots to retake the throne, nobody knowing how the chaos in the works will turn out in the end.