Lewis Orne is something of an outsider, born on the unimportant planet Chargon of Gemma and alienated from his family, he has always dreamt of becoming an insider, one of the favoured. He begins by joining the Rediscovery and Re-education Service, bringing civilization back to plants knocked back to barbarism by the Rim Wars, then transfers to Investigation and Adjustment, dies whilst trying to adjust the bloodthirsty Gienahns, then, on recovery, is sent to the holy planet of Amel where the Abbod and his initiates have set about making a god.
This is my first Frank Herbert novel. Obviously I know about Dune and have a copy ready to read, but thought I'd start with something much shorter. You can tell Herbert's quality straight away - the way, for example, he uses fake epigraphs to get much dry exposition out of the way, then makes you read them because it soon becomes apparent that's where all the clues are to understanding what's going on. The characters are interesting, the monsters horrible, and the way religion becomes political all too relevant. I enjoyed it on all levels.