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23 April 2011

Empire of the Ants (1991)

I've only got one word to say about Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber: Pure Genius!

This book was recommended to me by Amazon. You know the sort of thing...
"We see you like Peruvian Noseflute for Beginners... other people who like this also like Empire of the Ants."
And then it sat on my wishlist for ages. I waiting in vain for somebody to buy me it, proving the point that these bloody wishlists don't work, until I eventually had to fork out for the book myself. And I'm so glad that I did!

Empire of the Ants (or Les Fourmis as it is entitled in its native French) is a mélange of ideas and genres. Listen to me turning all French on you. Ha ha. It don't make me no cleverer though! No Sir! The story is written from two points of view... the Humans... and the Ants... and you just know that the two worlds are going to collide, but Bernie keeps you guessing as to how this is going to happen all the way through to the glorious end.

For me the book succeeds on a number of different fronts. For one, Bernie shows real artistry in breathing life into the world of the Ants. I found myself on the edge of my seat cheering on the little guys... reveling in their successes... and distraught at their failures. Who'd have thought that it could be so exciting. And at the same time Bernie also unfolds the story from the Human point of view. Each strand is delicately woven together, pushing the story along in dolby stereo. It's a delight to behold.

And mixed in along the way are observations on Love, Life and the Universe. Incroyable! Fantastique! Magnifique!

But enough of all this high praise... You'll be thinking that someone's drugged me!

This book is a one-off. It's one of those wonderful tales that you stumble across once in a blue moon and have to eat whole. Bernie, if you aren't already lounging on your new liner on the Côte d'Azur, then it won't be long. And you know what... I'll buy you your first cocktail!

On the Triple-B I'm going to form an alliance with the Termites with a sneaky 9. Anything I read after this is only going to be a let down! Oh, and now I've seen that this is part one in a trilogy! Wahay!

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