Cultural · fiction · Small Book

The Ardent Swarm

“Once again, man, in search of land, gave the plague to his fellow man in the folds of his offerings.”

― Yamen Manai

Why I’m Reading this Book?

This book was recommended by my brother Piyush Sharma and our tastes usually match, and it was a small book, so I decided to give it a chance.


A beautiful story of a bee-keeper with the background of civil unrest, corruption and terrorism, who is pitted against an formidable enemy and have to use all his wits to save his bees.

My Review…

Despite heavy themes explored in the book, this is such a feel good book. Story’s protagonist Sidi is a beekeeper who lives a ascetic life and is content with his bees. He has mastered the perfect harmony between nature and man and in this symbiosis he is leading a simple and peaceful life until like the regime of country, everything changes in his village too. Along with, new rulers, comes a dangerous enemies for his bees who is hell bent on massacring his hives and Sidi has to brave this peril at all cost.

At the backdrop of this story is entwined the political theme of the day i.e. a vacuum left after dethronement of a ruler, uncertainty and possibility of a corruption in a new democracy and emergence of terrorism in such conditions. Story is based in some south African village but we all have seen this happening all over the world.

Instead of talking about these dark subjects head-on, author has cleverly used symbolism in form of Sidi and his bees and gave the story an ending which is hopeful.

Also, there is ton of information on how bee works. I always knew they are fascinating species but this story firmed my understanding. I’ve a new found respect for bees and beekeepers now. Novel title is one of the strategy used by bees to fend-off its enemies. How cool!

My Rating — 5

On the scale of: (1- Hate , 2- Neither like nor dislike, 3- Like, 4- Love, 5- Gaga)

I would have given it 4, but this book made me to pause my TV and compelled me to finish this first. Very few can do that , so it deserves a 5.

Why anyone else should read this Book?

It’s a small book and can be read in 1-3 sitting.

Very good story with something for everything in store. It has politics, nature, insects, hope etc. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed after reading it.

Like some other books on terrorism, this book deals with the theme with a soft blow. It’s a heartwarming tale which will leave a smile on reader’s face.

I thank Piyush Sharma for introducing me to this pleasant story and would urge everyone to pick up this book and tell me how did they find it.

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” – Mortimer J. Adler


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