Author: Frank Herbert | Page Count: 508
'When things change, your absolute universe vanishes, no longer accesible for your self-limiting perceptions. The universe has moved beyond you.'
-First Draft, Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives
Fifteen-hundred years have passed since the God Emperor's extended reign came to an end. Previously we witnessed Leto II musing upon the role his religion had to play in the great work and the sacrifices he had to pay to ensure it was carried out. Now we're privy to how the various factions that endure respond to that legacy and how they choose to act within its various interpretations.
Each group dreams of dominance while attempting to make the best of what the Tyrant left them. They strive to elevate their place in the universe's new shape. They're hopeful elements adrift in the human current believing their order worthy of filling the impossible gap left by his absence. They even begin to believe the whispering assurances of their own ego.
HoD explores the 'myth of the Messiah' after he's passed, mostly by reference to, and direct experience of, movements within the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood.
The labels we give to things in some ways define and influence them, so it's fascinating to see how place names change over time. Frank incorporated that phenomenon into the book's structure and explores the question of whether or not the new names also change the people that reside there, or do old prejudices remain, hidden, diluted but still potent in the right hands?
Concepts and belief systems can also change and grow in the same manner. The Tyrant, for example, in some circles has become known as the Divided God, referencing the belief that he exists still as separate pearls of awareness in an endless dream. His Golden Path rolls onward.
Many different dependency infrastructures exist within the novel. Much of your reading will require you to recognise them and weigh their importance with regards to the bigger picture. I believe that's the best way to approach it, because those seeking a quick fix or a standalone resolution will be left wanting - the Divided God's story is split across more than one book. (Book VI is HERE.)
4 wordless understandings out of 5
NOTE: I'm aware that the picture on the cover is the same as on God Emperor of Dune (1981). It depicts a scene from Book IV, so was obviously an error on the publishers part (New English Library), but that's how my editions are.