The Bees

  • by Laline Paull
  • Narrated by Orlagh Cassidy
  • 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to 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 preeminence - enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the hive's strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by a greater power: A fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, and her society - and lead her to perform unthinkable deeds.
Thrilling, suspenseful, and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees and its dazzling young heroine will forever change the way you look at the world outside your window.


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My Favorite Book of 2014

It’s difficult to articulate just how brilliant and utterly original this book is. You really have to experience it to understand what the author is up to here. By pulling the listener inside a bee hive and tracing the seasonal lifecycle of one remarkable worker bee, Laline Paull has created a breathtaking novel with shades of dystopia and the pacing of a political thriller, demonstrating Orwellian intelligence but somehow – refreshingly - lacking the satire.

Stepping inside the microcosmic world of The Bees threw my own world into relief and made me feel –surprisingly – rather small. That this full experience of life - dramatic, messy, complicated, harrowing - is happening all around us but on a tiny scale is incredibly humbling. Despite taking place almost entirely inside a hive, the story is begins and ends with actual human characters. The beekeeper and his family seem to stand in as symbolic representatives of the human race, which has the ugly habit of finding self-referential meaning in the natural world, always assuming itself to be the center of all drama. But Paull shunts these people into the position of mere bookends to the story, and they are completely ignorant of the richness and mystery that lies in between.

Orlagh Cassidy’s performance was almost erotic, a perfect production choice. The world of the hive is totally sensual, heady with scents and flavors. Communication between the bees happens through smell, dancing, and vibrations. It’s an ornate, lush, complex, and sweet world – filled with randy – and misogynistic – male bees.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about The Bees for the last six months, and it has not yet gotten the public recognition I believe it deserves. I’m doing my best to change that every time I recommend it to a friend or colleague!
Read full review

- Emily - Audible


This is a very good book. It only has a 4.0 rating, because it is in the wrong category. It should be in the Fantasy Epic section. It has all the trappings of a Fantasy Epic. Queens, Princesses, Dark Princes, Drones (males, who are high royalty) Sages, Priestess, Guards, Fertility Police, Nurses, Forgers (sort of scouts), Kin (same as clans or Family blood lines), battles to the death for power, and a lower class.

FLORA SEVEN SEVENTEEN, is born a worker. Workers are mute, are told what to do by everybody, consider so low, you don't want to touch them, etc. Flora Seven Seventeen, is born able to speak and having a brain superior to her kin. She must handle having a superior brain and being in the lowest class, with her life at stake, at all times. You will love and admire her and struggle with her in her quests. There was not a dull moment in this intelligent, entertaining book.

This is not Charlottes Web or any other kiddy book. This is not a book about animals or insects, but a book about death and struggle. These bees fight each other, super strong wasps and make sacrifices to spiders. The book has a 1984 type theme with a sword and sorcery element. The dark princess are bad asses. There is a religious element that is often abused and might remind you of Stalin. Some high royalty bees have telepathy and you can't hide anything from them. They are like the thought police and you can be convicted of treason for what you might think. The only penalty is death.

The narrator is excellent and puts you in the hive.
If your a fantasy fan, you have got to get this.

Read full review

- Jim "The Impatient"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2014
  • Publisher: HarperAudio