Empire of the Ants (novel)

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Empire of the Ants
Author Bernard Werber
Original title Les Fourmis
Country France
Language French
Series Les Fourmis trilogy
Genre Novel
Publisher Le Livre de Poche
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback & Hardback)
Pages 306

Les Fourmis (English: The Ants) is a 1991 science fiction novel by French writer Bernard Werber. It was released in English as Empire of the Ants. The book sold more than two million copies and has been translated into more than 30 languages.[citation needed] It was also taken to video game format.

Les Fourmis is the first novel of La Saga des Fourmis trilogy[1] (also known as La Trilogie des Fourmis (The Trilogy of the Ants),[2] followed by Le Jour des fourmis (The Day of the Ants, 1992) and La Révolution des fourmis (The Revolution of the Ants, 1996).[3]


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 recent 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. He begins to investigate his uncle's life and mysterious activities, and decides to descend into the cellar of the house but does not return. His family and other people follow, and disappear. The ant character is a female whose foraging expedition gets destroyed in one strike, by a mysterious force that comes from above. She suspects that a colony of another ant species has attacked them with a secret weapon, and attempts to meet with the queen and to rally other ants to investigate the disaster. However, she attracts the attention of a secret group of ants within the same colony[which?] that appear to want to conceal this information. As the plot unfolds, the humans and the ants encounter new mysteries and participate in challenging events, including a war between different ant species.


The descriptions of ant morphology, behavior, and social organization as well as their interactions with other species are engaging, detailed, and scientifically based, although Werber significantly exaggerates the reasoning and communication capabilities of the ants (rendering his work science-fiction[citation needed]).[4]

Katharine Smith, reviewing the book for Sfsite, wrote: "The book is seeded with excerpts from Uncle Edmond's Encyclopedia, describing the ants' culture from a human perspective, a device which, combined with the intimate glimpses of their daily lives, illustrates the superficiality of human scientific observation." She also posed: "The real question, the final question left at the end of the book when all the other mysteries have been solved is this: Are humans really ready to communicate with another species? And, more frighteningly, what happens next -- when our efforts have drawn the attention of the other species to us? Read Empire of the Ants, and contemplate it." [5]


  • Arabic translation: النمل
  • Brazilian translation: O Império das Formigas
  • Bulgarian translation: Мравките
  • Croatian translation: Mravi
  • Czech translation: Mravenci
  • Danish translation: Myrerne
  • Dutch translation: De mieren
  • English translation: Empire of the Ants
  • Finnish translation: Muurahaiset
  • Georgian translation: ჭიანჭველები
  • German translation: Die Ameisen
  • Hebrew translation: הנמלים
  • Hungarian translation: A hangyák
  • Italian translation: Formiche
  • Korean translation: 개미
  • Polish translation: Imperium mrówek
  • Portuguese translation: As Formigas
  • Romanian translation: Furnicile
  • Russian translation: Муравьи
  • Slovak translation: Mravce
  • Spanish translation: Las Hormigas
  • Swedish translation: Myrorna
  • Turkish translation: Karıncalar - Olağanüstü Bir Algılama Biçimi
  • Vietnamese translation: Kiến


Game developer MC2-Microïds adapted the novel as a 3D strategy game for the Windows platform; Strategy First, Inc. released Empire of the Ants for Windows on July 18, 2001. Moby Games published the following review:[6]

"Remember SimAnt? Empire of the Ants has the same goal, but comes in 3D! More features are also included. The player has to raise a tribe and resist some of the most dangerous enemies an ant can have. Not only are the other insects dangerous, but the four seasons are also dangerous. The player also has to keep an eye on the headquarters and especially the Queen Ant - she is the only way to get new ants."

Dan Adams, in reviewing the game for IGN, concluded: [7]

"When all is said and done, I still think this kind of game holds a bit of potential. The idea is really great and the gameplay holds glimmers of what could have been. Sadly, it falls a quite a bit short of perfect. The lack of character and sorry graphics slap the game down at the surface and some interface and gameplay ideas wound the title a little deeper. It still may be of interest to some gamers that have read the book or really have a thing for insects, but don't say I didn't warn you."


  1. ^ Werber, Bernard. La Saga des Fourmis. Goodreads. 
  2. ^ Werber, Bernard. La Trilogie des Fourmis. Goodreads. 
  3. ^ Werber, Berard (1996). La Révolution des fourmis (The Revolution of the Ants). 
  4. ^ Robinson, Tasha (March 29, 2002). "Bernard Werber: Empire Of The Ants". AV Club. 
  5. ^ Mills, Katharine (1988). "Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber: A Review". Sfsite. 
  6. ^ "Review: Empire of the Ants". Moby Games (Windows ed.). December 8, 2000. 
  7. ^ Adams, Dan (July 17, 2001). "Empire of the Ants: Well it's a really cool concept anyway...". IGN. 

See also[edit]