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Empire of the Ants

A book by Bernard Werber

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Funny, mysterious, and completely engaging!

  • Mar 31, 1998
I am a regular reader of murder mystery novels, and the mystery element of this story sucked me right in. The clever melding of the human and ant storylines kept me guessing as to how they would finally converge, and what the outcome would be. If I have any criticism, it is that the human characters were not written as strongly as the ant characters. I could not wait for lunch hour to come every day so I could see what dangers and adventures lie ahead for 357 and the other ant characters. I wanted so much for them to survive and to succeed at uncovering the mysteries they were investigating. I never thought I'd be shedding tears for ants, but this book made me care deeply for these noble characters and feel sad when one of them succumbed to life's ever-present dangers. Don't waste energy comparing this book to "Watership Down." Just enjoy it for what it is.

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Sheri ()
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I have been a customer reviewer on Amazon.com for well over a decade and an Amazon Vine reviewer since the program began. I enjoy writing product reviews that will help customers make a buying decision. … more
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About this book


In the early 21st century, in a Paris rapidly turning tropical thanks to global warming, Jonathan Wells tries to get to the bottom (as it turns out, quite literally) of his Uncle Edmond's obsession with ants. Jonathan and his family have been left Edmond's basement apartment; their benefactor's sole request is, "ABOVE ALL, NEVER GO DOWN INTO THE CELLAR." Meanwhile, in the great city of Bel-o-kan, a reproductive ant, the 327th male, is fighting for survival, having had his olfactory Identikit stripped by traitors of his own tribe.

Both males--human and ant--are determined to solve their separate quandaries, and Bernard Werber cleverly juxtaposes their adventures and those of their survivors. Their stories must somehow be linked, but it will be hundreds of imaginative and educational pages before we come upon the solution. Empire of the Ants was first published in France in 1991 and eventually in England in 1996 in Margaret Rocques's spryly formal translation. ("Ants are not especially well-known for their conviviality, especially when advancing in formation, armed to the antennae.") Werber has studied formic civilization for 15 years, and his observations more than pay off. We knew they were industrious little things, but why did no one ever tell us about their powers of invention, accommodation (in both senses of the word!), communication, and above all determination?

In fact, as the narrative makes increasingly clear, ants seem to have a lot more going ...

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ISBN-10: 0553096133
ISBN-13: 978-0553096132
Author: Bernard Werber
Publisher: Bantam

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