One hundred and ten centuries from now, humanity has spread across space. And all-powerful machines rule the humans who were once their masters. It began in the Time of Tyrants, when ambitious men and women used high-powered computers to seize control of the heart of the Old Empire including Earth itself. The tyrants translated their brains into mobile mechanical bodies and created a new race, the immortal man-machine hybrids called cymeks. Then the cymeks' planctary computers - each known as Omnius - seized control from their overlords and à thousand years of brutal rule by the thinking machines began. The human race still clings to life. Some - like idealistic Serena Butler of the free planet Salusa Secundus and her betrothed, the soldier Xavier Harkonnen - even dream of overthrowing the machines and freeing their human slaves. Others - like Vorian Atreides, bastard son of the cymek Agamemnon - are proud to serve the machines. But their world faces disaster. Impatient with human beings endless disobedience and the cymeks' continual plotting to regain their power, Omnius has decided that it no longer needs them. Only the destruction of thinking machines can save the human race from extermination.