The Ardent Swarm by  Yamen Manai

The Ardent Swarm

Yamen Manai

A beautiful and poetic novel in which the invasion of a hostile swarm of hornets is compared to the political situation in an Arabic country. Sidi, the main protagonist, is a gentle, nature-loving beekeeper who is living in a remote village. On the discovery of the threat to his beloved bees, he takes action, together with his friends. Superbly written it grabbed my attention from the outset and kept it all the way through.


Though it had arrived in the time of the Old One, the Varroa prospered in the era of the Handsome One, like many of its kin. There wasn't one worker bee in a field without this parasite on its back, hooks planted in its flesh. Not only did the leech suck the bee dry, it also infected its host with contagious and deadly diseases, which would eventually destroy the entire hive. In their fight against the Varroa, many beekeepers converted to pesticides to save their colonies, preserving life with the right dose of poison. Except that with poison, there is no right dose. Sidi's hives, which had also been infected, survived on their own. Bolstered by the introduction of wild queens, they hadn't succumbed. His bees knew how to defend themselves against the Varroa at every stage of their development, and, to do so, showed their savage side. 

  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • Honeyland - a documentary
  • The Long Dry by Cynan Jones
Borrow this book