The Bees

19 June 2014 | by Laline Paull

it is difficult to read this book undiverted by an imagined clamour of publishers and agents celebrating expected mass sales. Other noises off include the gnashing of other writers’ teeth as they wish they’d been the first to dream up the premise:  a thriller set in a beehive. A society which is hierarchical, violent and mystical ... there’s a nagging sense that this hive is Hogwarts, but Laline Paull has created characters and a narrative which entertain and enthrall on their own terms. The story’s heroine, Flora, is a low-born Sanitation worker. She has special powers and these abilities lead to a series of promotions which give her access to all areas of the hive, right up to the inner sanctum, the chamber of the Queen. Hive society is run like a cross betw

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