What do the angels think of us ?
How do they see our species, swarming over the earth ?
Bernard Werber lets us discover paradise as though it were an unconquered territory, where beings who wish us well are trying to save us despite ourselves. As original as Empire of the Ants, as perturbing as The Thanatonautes, as passionate as The Father of our Fathers, Empire of the Angels takes us on a journey to the world beyond our existence. Bernard Werber once again exercises the talent that has made his international reputation, not hesitating to put his surprising intuitions to the test of a Romanesque adventure, as one might with philosophical or scientific theories. Doesn't Empire of the Angels offer the best viewpoint to observe Humanity in movement ? After earth, sky, sea and stars, isn't paradise the last frontier that remains unexplored ?

Empire of the Angels

Michael Pinson has passed on. For this hero of Thanatonautes, the final hour has struck. He finds himself facing his judges and obliged to make a choice : to come back to earth as an Initiated Master or to escape the reincarnation cycle.

From a reincarnated human being, he moves on to become an angel. But in his new guise of guardian angel, Michael discovers that watching over human beings and granting their wishes - even the most absurd - is no piece of cake. More like a taste of Hell.

This insatiable explorer has retained his taste for adventure from his previous life. Angel in rebellion, he sets himself an aim : to discover what lies beyond the beyond, and after that. Perhaps, by breaking into the forbidden circle, he'll penetrate the secrets of the Gods.

The Seven Heavens

This black hole sucks everything in : the solar systems, the stars, the planets, the meteorites. And me with them.

I remember maps of the Land of the Dead. The Seven Heavens. I draw alongside the first heaven. It's a blue, conical territory. You go in through star froth.

On the threshold of the Land of the Dead, I can now see presences. Next to me, there are other dead, we rush toward the light like a whole migration of butterflies.

Victims of car crashes. Those put to death by sentence. Tortured prisoners. The incurably sick. An unlucky passer-by who got a falling flower pot on the head. An ill-informed mountaineer who didn't know a viper from a grass snake. A handyman, never vaccinated against tetanus, who scraped himself with a rusty nail.

Some went looking for trouble. Pilots who like going out in fog and don't know how to fly on instruments. Off-piste skiers who didn't see the crevice. High flyers whose parachutes didn't open. Careless lion-tamers. Motorcyclists who thought they had the time to overtake the truck. These are today's dead. I greet them.


THE END OF ESOTERICISM : Long ago those who possessed fundamental knowledge about the nature of man couldn't reveal it all at once. So the prophets expressed themselves through parables, metaphors, symbols, allusions, insinuation. They were afraid that knowledge would get around too quickly. Or of being misunderstood. They created initiation tests to select those who were worthy of access to important information. They created hierarchies of erudition.

Those days are gone. Now all secrets are revealed to the masses, but we have to admit that only those who want to understand do. The « desire to understand » is the most powerful human drive.

Edmond Wells,
Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge, Tome IV.

The Judgement Plateau

A path leads to the judgement plateau

In the middle, the long stream of dead is no more dense than the broken line of new immigrants arriving at Kennedy Airport, New York. They trickle along. Each soul waits till the one in front has been called to the counter before it can move forward and stand behind the line waiting its turn.

Rose, Amandine, and me, we introduced ourselves in that queue.

A translucent being comes to get us. I recognise him right away. The lord of the keys. The bailiff of paradise. He was called Anubis by the Egyptians, the Lord of the Necropolis. Yama, God of the Dead, by the Hindous. Charon the boatman of the Styx by the Greeks. Hermes, the guide of souls by the Romans and Saint Peter by the Christians.

- « Follow me »

A tall, bearded man, rather haughty.

- « Of course »

He smiles and nods his head. Wonderful ! When I speak, he can hear me too. He leads us straight ahead to the plateau of Judgement. We stand in front of three judges who stare at us without a word. I can hear Saint Peter somewhere, reciting :

Surname : Pinson
First name : Michael
Nationality : French
Hair colour in last life : Brown
Eyes : Brown
Height in last life : 1,78 m
Distinguishing features : None
Weakness : Lack of confidence
Strength : Curiosity



JOKE : A story about a guy who goes to his doctor. He's wearing a top hat. He sits down and takes off his hat. The doctor sees a frog sitting on his bald head. He looks more closely, and sees that the frog seems to be soldered to the skin.

- « You've had this for a long time ? », says the doctor, surprised.

The frog replies : « At first it was only a little wart on my foot ».

This joke illustrates a concept. Sometimes your analysis of an event is mistaken because you're stuck in the only viewpoint that is apparent to you.

Edmond Wells
Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge, Tome IV.
(Taken from a joke by Freddy Meyer)

The Lake of Conceptions

I'm gliding above the Lake of Conceptions. I'm inspecting all the screens. There are couples who represent all the continents, all the countries, all the peoples.

Some are making love in bed, others on kitchen tables, in lifts, on beaches, behind thickets...

These are strange pictures of people captured in a moment which is supposed to be among the most secret and intimate. How can one choose ? Used to trusting my intuition, I finally select a couple whose movements have a certain harmony. The man is dark, his face pale and grave. The woman is dark too, long hair, kind looking. I point with my finger.

- « Those two », I say.

Edmond Wells tells me that this is a French family from Perpignan. The Nemrods. They have a bookshop, and are comfortably off. A big family. Four daughters. And a cat. My instructor taps on the screen to indicate that this conception is reserved.

-  « There. No other angel can take it away from you ».

He looks at the ADN of the conceivers and gives me the result :

- « Mmm »

- « What ? »

- « Nothing serious. A few respiratory diseases in the man's genes.

He'll cough. »

- « And the woman ? »

He goes through the same process.

- « Red hair ».

He projects into my mind the accelerated visualization of the meeting of the sperm and the ovum. I see twenty-three male chromosomes link up with twenty-three female ones.

- « A boy or a girl ? »

He peers into the fusion of the two gametes and announces :

- « XY, it'll be a boy. On to the next. »


RESPIRATION : Women and men don't perceive the world in the same way. For most men, events evolve in a linear way. Women, on the other hand, can conceive the world in its undulatory form. Probably because they have proof every month that what is created can be destroyed and rebuilt again, they see the universe as a permanent pulsation. This fundamental secret is enclosed in their bodies, they knowunconsciously that all that grows will eventually diminish, all that goes up will eventually come down. Everything breathes, and one mustn't be afraid of the exhalation which comes after inhalation. The worst thing would be to try to hold in one's respiration or to block it. This would lead to certain suffocation.

Edmond Wells
Encyclopaedia of relative and Absolute Knowledge, Tome IV.

The Emerald Door

A legion of beings of light surround us and I can make out some well known faces among them. Groucho Marx, Oscar Wilde, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Buster Keaton, Aristophanes.

- « They call us the comic gang of Paradise.

Before I came here, I didn't know Mozart was such a joker. Never short of a bawdy story. Couldn't be less like Beethoven, more the wet blanket type. »

I ask:

- « And your clients ? »

Freddy shrugs his shoulders. He's lost faith in his work as an angel. All he does now is manage his souls. Too many clients have been a disappointment to him. He's sick to the teeth of humans. Save them ? He doesn't think it's possible. Just like Raoul, he thinks saving humans is a task beyond the abilities even the most gifted of angels.

Aristophanes says he's at his six thousand five hundred and twenty-seventh client, and every one a failure. Buster Keaton says all he gets are Laplanders depressed by the absence of light. Oscar Wilde says that's nothing compared to his Hindus, what with mother-in-laws who set fire to their daughter-in laws' saris for the insurance. As for Groucho Marx, he's doing what he can with the Khmers who're still sorting out their differences in the jungle. Rabelais throws up his arms and tells us about the kids in the ghettos of Sao Paulo, who sniff glue from morning till night and whose life expectancy is no more than fourteen.

You'd think the hopeless cases were systematically given to comics.

- « It's too hard. Most of us end up throwing in the towel. You can't help human beings. »

I take up Edmond Wells' viewpoint :

- « Still, our presence here is the proof that it's possible to break out of the reincarnation cycle. If we did it, others must be able to do it. »

- « Maybe humans are like the spermatozoa that produce them » says Raoul. « Only one in three hundred million manages to penetrate the ovum. Me, I don't have the patience to try three hundred million souls to finally get the right to enter the emerald door. »


MUTATION : The recent discovery of a type of codfish capable of extremely rapid mutation came as a surprise to researchers. This cold-water species turns out to be more evolved than those living more comfortably in warm waters. It is believed that the cold-water cod, enduring the stress due to the temperature, has developed an unexpected capacity for survival. In the same way, three million years ago, men developed complex capacities for mutation which have not all become manifest quite simply because they are, for the moment, of no use. They are kept « in stock ». Thus modern man possesses enormous hidden resources in his genes, unexploited as yet because there is no reason to activate them.

Edmond Wells
Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge, Tome IV.

« So, I am dying.
A mist is rising...
Could it be my soul ?
The other diaphanous me
Slowly slipping from my body ?
God, what a sensation !
I'm flying, floating up.
Something up there is pulling me toward it.
A fabulous light.
To know, at last »