Frank Herbert's third installment in the immensely popular Dune series, first
published in 1976, covers the life of Muad'Dib's children, Leto and Ghanima
Atreides -- both nine years old in the story.
In the wake of the events described in Dune Messiah, the universe is recovering
from the Holy War which left the desert planet Arrakis as the center of
attention in the Empire. A religion grown around the legend of Paul Muad'Dib is
articulated by his sister, Alia of the Knife.
Leto and Ghanima, born of Paul's late concubine Chani, are being
raised in the Fremen way despite ancient taboo against the abominations they have
become -- children with the minds and memories of adults. However, when a
conspiracy rooted in the highest levels of Alia's religiously-backed government
threatens the lives of the children, the twins devise a plan to survive and help weed
out the troublemakers.
Separating for the first time in their life, Ghanima returns to the capital city of
Arakeen where she quickly becomes a pawn in Alia's games of power -- she is forced
into an arranged marriage.
Leto, on the other hand, heads deep into the desert where he discovers remnants of
ancient customs and legends. He learns about himself, his ancestry and -- unknown to
the other residents of the planet -- the history and cycles of Arrakis itself. Gifted
with his father's prescience, Leto looks into the past and future and sees a Golden
Path which, if followed out, will result in the ultimate success and survival of the
entire human race. Where Paul Muad'Dib had made this revelation and shied away from
it, Leto realizes he must embrace it for the good of both humanity and the universe.
The unfortunate truth to Leto's plan is that it requires his presence and guidance to
succeed; To extend his life the thousands of years necessary, he begins a
metamorphosis that changes him from human to a new form.