Something strange is going on in the village. A dead pig is carried through the lanes in a coffin, a heap of signposts are buried in a field and a mummy walks the streets late at night, scaring the local ladies half to death.
Things have never been the same since the evacuee arrived and the Five Boys mistook him for a Nazi spy.
The village has had a whole host of visitors since: the Americans are down the road preparing for D-Day, a deserter is hiding out in the woods.
But it is the arrival of the Bee King which makes the biggest impression.
He is a law unto himself and has his own strange rituals, and the villagers fear that he is beginning to exert the same charm over their boys as he does over his bees.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 256 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 03/06/2002
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780571206186
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Review by Steve38
A strange book. Written in the style of a book aimed at young teenagers and with a plot to match it wanders into a metaphysical treatise on beekeeping and morality. With the odd swear word and descriptions of voyeurism and masturbation added to the mix but running at odds to the meandering plot and benign characterisation that makes them ill fitting. The Five Boys of the title never emerge either as a group or as individuals. The sixth boy with which the story starts disappears from the plot altogether. It reads like the author had a whole list of potential novels in his mind and decided to put them all into one book. Not a success.