Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert is the second book in Herbert's original trilogy. Dune Messiah felt, in a lot of ways, like the middle book in a trilogy; by the time I finished it I felt like the bridge between the first book, and what comes next, was built here.
In the introduction, Herbert's son Brian Herbert, says as much, and complains about faithful readers of the first book, being short sighted in their views of his father's efforts in the second installment of the Dune series. It's also clear that the younger Herbert both loves and looks up to his father, saying of him, "If he had been a politician, he would have been an honorable one, perhaps even one of our greatest presidents." Brian Herbert also wrote a biography of his late father, entitled Dreamer of Dune.
I'm pretty sure I read Dune when I was a teenager as well, but the politics were beyond me and I didn't read any of the other books. I've read it again, but it's been over a year and probably longer since, but the story came back as I read through this second adventure on the desert planet. 12 years has past since the end of that story if I remember correctly, but I also remember that some of the ages of the characters didn't seem to add up to what thought they should be, so I've got something wrong. I'll tell you what I don't understand, and that's why a better movie couldn't be made from these books. It's seems ripe; but that silly thing with Sting, come on. And wasn't there another one with that dude from Twin Peaks that was on TV a few years ago? Maybe I'm getting them mixed up.
Anyway, the story is short, fast, fun and surprisingly deep. There are all kinds of things going on in this story, and Herbert expects his readers to keep up. That faith he has in us, to follow the complex web of interconnected politics, religion, war, drugs, ecology, love, jealously, economics, family ties, and all the conflicting pressures they place on the leaders in this story, is what I think makes Herbert so popular with his readers.
Herbert went on to write some more books in the Dune series: God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. Brian Herbert has also taken up the mantle and has written some Dune books as well, like twelve or thirteen of them! All I have is the original trilogy. I've just started on the last: Children of Dune, and I think I'll see how that goes before getting into anything further.