The Bees

The Bees

Laline Paull

“This is a brilliantly inventive debut novel, set within a colony of bees. Flora is a humble sanitation worker bee who, by virtue of a special gift, manages to escape her lowly existence. The Bees is about cults, the caste system, misogyny – even climate change. It has the allegorical power of Animal Farm, and the humanity of Tarka the Otter. I found it a joy to read.” Cathy Newman, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015 Judge

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is deemed fit only to clean her orchard hive. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting nectar and pollen on the wing. Before long she finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, learning secrets both sublime and ominous.

Flora’s ascent disturbs the natural hierarchy of the colony, incensing powerful enemies. But when she feels compelled to break the most sacred law of all, Flora’s instincts are overwhelmed by love, as all-consuming as it is forbidden….

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