Indeed Paul and his mother Jessica have to escape to the inhospitable desert of Arrakis, which is occupied only by the secretive and dangerous Fremen population. Until now the Fremen people have been considered to be of little importance in galactic affairs, but that is about to change.
Although Dune is clearly in the science fiction category, it is nothing like the space opera that this suggests. Technology plays a minor role in the story, and much of what happens is more akin to magic. The book can be confusing, with the constant intrugues between different factions, and it's the sort of book which may need to be read several times to make sense of it - but it's such a classic work that this is worth the effort.