Nominated by:

San Francisco Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Ecco Press, USA

The Bees

Laline Paull    

2016 Longlist

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.

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

(from publisher)

About the Author

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.

Librarian’s Comments

Vivid descriptions that blur the lines between real bee behaviour and imagination. Themes of power and control are always relevant. Voted by staff as a top choice.

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