Edition: New English Library, 1985
Review number: 203
Another few thousands of years have passed since the events of God Emperor of Dune; Emperor Leto is long gone, though a tiny part of his awareness lives in each of the great spice worms which have re-colonised Arrakis, turning it into desert once again. Freed by Leto's death, humankind has begun a massive expansion, colonising new planets in no-ships, devices incapable of being tracked by the prescient; they themselves, carrying genes from Siona, the final link in Leto's breeding plan for humanity, also invisible to these watchers. (One of his aims was to make it impossible for anyone to set up a tyranny over the whole human race again, by letting colonies be founded that would be impossible to trace.)
Of the various power groupings in what is now known as the human core when Leto died, only the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax still retain much power; each has continued to pursue their own agenda, through religious and psychological manipulation and biological engineering respectively. But they are now facing a massive challenge: people from the Scattering are beginning to return, having made new discoveries and developed new abilities.
The substance of the book is about organisations with an incredibly lengthy tradition (many thousands of years longer than any organisation in existence today) and a virtual monopoly of political power having to work out and implement changes to ensure survival in the face of a rapidly changing political and technological situation. This scenario is well developed, with a role for action as well as thought (though the action is sometimes used to cover up weaknesses in the plotting). If the scenario interests you, so will the book. If not, you will probably not get far into it without giving up.