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.
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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. Here a young female from the russet ant nation of Bel-o-kan learns that a strange new weapon has been killing off her comrades. To find out why, she enlists the help of a warrior ant, and the two set off on separate journeys into a harsh and violent world. It is a world where death takes many forms--savage birds and voracious lizards, warlike dwarf ants and rapacious termites, poisonous beetles and, most bizarre of all, the swift, murderous, giant guardians of the edge of the world: cars.
But to do so she must first make unthinkable communion with the most barbaric creatures of all. Empire of the Ants is a brilliant evocation of a hidden civilization as complex as our own and far more ancient. It is a fascinating realm where boats are built of leaves and greenflies are domesticated and milked like cows, where citizens lock antennae in "absolute communication" and fight wars with precisely coordinated armies using sprays of glue and acids that can dissolve a snail.
Not since Watership Down has a novel so vividly captured the lives and struggles of a fellow species and the valuable lessons they have to teach us.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Empire of the Ants