Prophets of the Ghost Ants by Clark Thomas Carlton is one of those books that will turn certain audiences away as a result of a core element that has to be believed to make the story work, and that is the possibility of humans shrinking through the eons because of evolution to become as small as insects. This will be an exciting story for you if you can wrap your head around that element, and that really shouldn’t be difficult because this is fiction, after all, where anything can happen.
We learn on the first page, through a mythological tale that is woven into the story, Earth was struck by a Great Boulder that wreaked havoc on the entire planet. That event, combined with a few others, eventually resulted in humans being the size of, and co-existing with, bugs.
Just as in the real world, this world is filled with many different cultures and beliefs; some are variations of our own while others are created by humanity trying to live as insects do, such as sticking people within certain castes, where they remain forever. If you’re born upper class, you’ll always be upper class. If you’re born into lower class, you will always be stuck there.
Anand, the main character, is designated as the lowest of the low, but Anand is more than meets the eye because he’s a member of two societies. Still, his fate takes an unexpected turn when he suddenly finds himself transformed into a warrior who must defend his two clans from the threat of the Ghost Ants.
The world-building of this futuristic society is similar to that found in Lord of the Rings, with each terrain and culture being unique. The author didn’t merely assign different names to different areas and have everyone act the same. With each territory Anand explores, he encounters the various beliefs that each region has.
Likewise, the characters also have depth and character, making it easy to imagine yourself in this world that is so different, yet similar to our own. Others see Anand as a hero, and while he does sometimes get lost within his own praise, he mostly feels like nothing more than a boy pretending to be something he’s not, which is an element I loved. Perfect heroes can be perfectly boring, but Anand’s doubts and fears make him incredibly realistic.
Prophets of the Ghost Ants is the type of book that will appeal to fans of science fiction and fantasy who enjoy a little insight delivered with their entertainment. While Anand and his fellow warriors ride ants and fear the dreaded night wasps, the people who live in this world really aren’t that different that us. They just happen to be a whole lot smaller.