Margaret Atwood meets David Attenborough in this thrilling novel about one bee’s battle with adversity. Set deep within the hive, Flora 717 is born into the lowest echelon of society, but quickly discovers she is not like her silent and obedient sisters in the sanitation unit. Singled out for her intelligence, strength and courage, Flora begins to ascend the ranks of the hive’s complex and terrifying hierarchy, drawing ever closer to her destiny.
As we follow Flora on her journey, from worker bee to respected forager to the Queen’s attendant, you will be forgiven for forgetting that the female heroine is an insect at all. Not only does Flora break free of the deeply embedded class system that rules the hive, but shows compassion, integrity and humility at every stage. However, true Flora’s purpose is made clear when her forbidden maternal instincts pave the way for a new future in the wake of the disease and deceit that permeates the hive.
Paull’s fantasy novel is not only a powerful environmental statement on the fragility of the bee population and the very real threat of ‘colony collapse disorder’, but serves as an an important allegory on the importance of social and racial diversity, as well as the destructive impact of prejudice and regressive political systems. The dual messages of the novel combined with the fast-paced narrative and well constructed character make it a thought-provoking and utterly enjoyable read.