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The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

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October 2017 Debut of the Month

An outstanding feat of literary fiction in which three individuals - oceans and centuries apart - are indelibly connected by their devotion to beekeeping. This is speculative fiction at its smartest, and comes with a powerful message about the interconnectedness of life.

In Hertfordshire, 1852, biologist and seed merchant William is creating a new kind of beehive he hopes will bestow great honour upon him and his children. With a skip forward to 2007, and a leap across the Atlantic to Ohio, we meet beekeeper George, who’s battling modern farming, while placing his hopes in his son’s hands. Then, in Sichuan, China in 2098, through Tao we witness a grim vision of a future in which the bees have disappeared, and so she painstakingly hand-paints pollen onto fruit trees. While the protagonists are very different people, leading very different lives, they share an elemental need to do the best for their children, and are driven by a deep-rooted impulse to fight and survive. At once sweeping, and intricately complex, this will make you see the world anew, and want to take action to make it better. ~ Joanne Owen


The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

England, 1851. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive-one that will give both him and his children honour and fame.United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper and fights an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao's young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident-and is kept in the dark about his whereabouts and condition-she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought provoking story that is just as much about the powerful relationships between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.


Praise for The History of Bees:

`Haunting and poignant ... an important and wonderful book' Dave Goulson, author of Bee Quest

`Spectacular and deeply moving. Lunde has elegantly woven together a tale of science and science fiction, dystopia and hope, and the trials of the individual and the strengths of family' Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author

`Such is the genius of debut novelist Maja Lunde that her tale of three eras-the long past, the tenuous present and the biologically damned future-is strung on the fragile hope of the survival of bees' Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author

`As a lover of honeybees and a fan of speculative fiction, I was doubly smitten by The History of Bees. Maja Lunde's novel is an urgent reminder of how much our survival depends on those remarkable insects. It is also a gripping account of how-despite the cruelest losses-humanity may abide and individual families can heal' Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest

`By turns devastating and hopeful, The History of Bees resonates powerfully with our most pressing environmental concerns. Following three separate but interconnected timelines, Lunde shows us the past, the present, and a terrifying future in a riveting story as complex as a honeycomb' Bryn Greenwood, New York Times bestselling author

`Here is a story that is sweeping in scope but intimate in detail' Laura McBride, author of We Are Called to Rise

'A brilliant and beautiful novel' Jan Askelund, Stavanger Aftenblad

About the Author

Maja Lunde is a Norwegian author and screenwriter. Lunde has written ten books for children and young adults. She has also written scripts for Norwegian television, including for the children's series Barnas supershow ( The Children's Super Show ), the drama series Hjem ( Home ) and the comedy series Side om Side ( Side by Side ). The History of Bees is her first novel for adults. She lives with her husband and three children in Oslo.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th September 2017


Maja Lunde

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Scribner UK an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd


400 pages


Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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