The Bees: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, May 6, 2014 - Fiction - 352 pages

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all—daring to challenge the Queen’s fertility—enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society—and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees gives us a dazzling young heroine and will change forever the way you look at the world outside your window.

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User Review  - Kirkus

An imaginative—though not wholly successful—debut in which a beehive is a dystopian society where obedience is essential.Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, the lowest order of bee, mute and hulking ... Read full review

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As a beekeeper, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Flora 717 and her rise through the ranks in the hive. It accurately and entertainingly describes the life cycle of a bee, even the brutality of the destruction of the drones at the end of the summer. I've always loved watching my girls, but now I watch the brave Thistle guards,the Teasle sisters in the nursery, and the priestesses of Sage, and wait for Flora 717. 

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About the author (2014)

Laline Paull studied English at Oxford, screenwriting in Los Angeles, and theater in London. She lives in England with her husband, photographer Adrian Peacock, and their three children.

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