The Bees by Laline Paull. Recommended by Gillian (Bury Libraries Customer)
Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey, and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous. But enemies are everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. And when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce love that will lead to the unthinkable.
“Don’t let the unusual subject matter and setting put you off reading this hugely compelling novel. The narritive and characters are so strong and the plot hurtles along. In many aspects it reminded me of stories set in and around the Tudor court; and the strict controlling society wouldn’t be out of place in a science fiction setting. Full of intrigue and tension I found this a hard book to put down.” Gillian.
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