Empire of the Ants (novel)

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.

Empire of the Ants
AuthorBernard Werber
Original titleLes Fourmis
SeriesLes Fourmis trilogy
PublisherLe Livre de Poche
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback & Hardback)

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 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. 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 male whose foraging expedition gets destroyed in one strike, by a mysterious force that comes from above. He 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, he attracts the attention of a secret group of ants within the same colony 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 SF Site, 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
  • Chinese translation:蚂蚁三部曲
  • 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
  • Ukrainian translation: Мурахи
  • Vietnamese translation: Kiến


Empire of the Ants
Designer(s)Julien Marty
Pascal Mory
Xavier-Claude Passeri
Bernard Werber
Programmer(s)Vincent L'Hermite
SeriesThe Ants trilogy  
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • EU: April 20, 2000
  • NA: July 17, 2001
Genre(s)Strategy video game

Game developer MC2-Microïds adapted the novel as a 3D strategy game for the Windows platform; it was developed and published by Microïds in France on April 20, 2000; and published by Strategy First on July 17, 2001.

The real time 3D game is playable on a network with up to 8 players, and the game contains more than 60 species of insects and different animals. The game requiring strategy and management is set in the combative world of ants and their anthills.

There were some bugs within the game which led to crashes, but because the game was coded in French, most modders did not want to deal with it.

The music was composed by Nicolas Varley.


Aggregate score
Review scores
CGW     [7]
PC Gamer (UK)62%[12]
PC Gamer (US)56%[13]
PC Zone54%[14]

The game received "mixed" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[6]

Dan Adams, in reviewing the game for IGN, concluded:[11]

"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."

See alsoEdit


  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". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  5. ^ Mills, Katharine (1988). "Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber: A Review". SF Site.
  6. ^ a b "Empire of the Ants for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  7. ^ Jones, George (November 2001). "Why Ants Don't Suck (Empire of the Ants Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 208. pp. 98, 100. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Osborne, Scott (July 31, 2001). "Empire of the Ants Review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  9. ^ McConnaughey, Tim (August 28, 2001). "Empire of the Ants". GameSpy. Archived from the original on January 12, 2005. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Lafferty, Michael (June 17, 2001). "Empire of the Ants Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on August 2, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Adams, Dan (July 17, 2001). "Empire of the Ants". IGN.
  12. ^ "Empire of the Ants". PC Gamer UK. August 2000.
  13. ^ Chan, Norman (November 2001). "Empire of the Ants". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  14. ^ Korda, Martin (2000). "PC Review: Empire Of The Ants". PC Zone. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2017.

External linksEdit