A sequel to Whipping Star, again set in an interspecies ""ConSentiency"" of the far future and featuring the talents of Saboteur Extraordinary Jorj X. McKie. The Gowachin, a frog-like race of advanced ruthlessness, seem to have isolated a group of subjects on a mostly toxic planet, surrounded them with an impenetrable ""God Wall,"" and watched these guinea pigs develop the hideous cunning and brutality necessary for survival. Twenty generations into the experiment, the Dosadi character gives even its creators pause; what if they can breach the God Wall? McKie, the only human who also acts as an accredited lawyer (""Legum') under the bizarre Gowachin legal system, is dispatched to study the situation at first hand. It is soon clear that he has been as dangerously exploited as the Dosadi. Dune fans will recognize the attention to alien patterns of behavior and communication; the logic of survival in bizarre cultural codes; the power-game plot developed with obsessive (and often pointless) intricacy. But this is not as carefully or substantially worked out as the much longer Dune books. Herbert gives us plenty to think about, but the narrative is needlessly overplotted and the writing full of laconic-gone-wrong banalities. Good materials, mannered execution.