Unique, daring, and unforgettable, it tells the story of an ordinary family who accidentally threaten the security of a hidden civilization as intelligent as our own--a colony of ants determined to survive at any cost Jonathan Wells and his young family have Here is the stunning international bestseller in the tradition of Watership Down but with a dark, original twist. Jonathan Wells and his young family have come to the Paris flat at 3, rue des Sybarites through the bequest of his eccentric late uncle Edmond. Inheriting the dusty apartment, the Wells family are left with only one warning: Never go down into the cellar. But when the family dog disappears down the basement steps, Jonathan follows--and soon his wife, his son, and various would-be rescuers vanish into its mysterious depths. Meanwhile, in a pine stump in a nearby park, a vast civilization is in turmoil.

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March "Picks you up off the ground and puts you down goodness knows where. Like so much else in this brilliant and unsettling novel, we feel and understand a thing not by our own human lights, but rather through the multi-faceted eyes of an ant. Through the sorcery of his scientific prose, all the more fascinating for its deadpan journalistic tone, Werber draws the reader into the teeming society of a russet ant city, with its complex hierarchical structure of specialized citizens.

We come to know intimately a sexual male the th, numbered according to its hatching order in the current season , an asexual soldier , rd , and a future queen 56th female. Scientists understand that communication among ants is effected through the release of hormonal scents pheromones. But does it have a "linguistic equivalent"? In any case, what ants convey to each other through these chemical messages lies beyond any exact verbal transcription a human being could devise. When the 56th female is making her first, agonized attempts to build a new city from scratch, Werber imagines that it is a flitting thought of her dead "boyfriend" the th male , with whom she never had the chance to mate, which gives her the courage to go on.

While "love among the ants" might seem like a comically anthropocentric notion, it is as good and as serious an explanation as any for what drives these tiny creatures to perform their herculean acts of survival and self-perpetuation, which are literally beyond our human understanding.

The aliens are right here with us. They thrive in our backyards. As a society, they are more civil, more organized, and more responsible than we are. Empire of the Ants.


Empire of the Ants

Plot[ edit ] The plot begins as two stories that take place in parallel: one in the world of humans in Paris , the other in the world of ants in a Formica rufa colony in a park near Paris. The time is the early 21st century the near future, relative to the time when Werber wrote the book. The human character receives a house and a provocative message as legacy from his recently deceased uncle. His family and other people follow, and disappear. The ant character is a male whose foraging expedition gets destroyed in one strike, by a mysterious force that comes from above.


Bernard Werber




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