Solma is a fighter.
Welcome to one of the many stops on the book blitz for The Last Beekeeper by Rebecca L. Fearnley with XPresso Book Tours. Look for others participating in this blitz across social media and on your favourite bookish blogs April 19-23, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
The Last Beekeeper
Silents Skies Book One
by Rebecca L. Fearnley
Published 20 April 2022
Lightning Hyena Press
Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy
Page Count: 472
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Solma is a fighter. Trained by her village Steward to protect their community from the predators of their harsh world, she is fierce and loyal. But how can she protect her friends and family from crop failure and starvation? With flying insects extinct for over a century, nowhere on the forsaken continent of Alphor is safe and Solma is terrified her little brother, Warren, will be one of the next to die. The villagers cling to life, waiting for the Earth Whisperers—mysterious nomads with a strange magic that helps plants grow—to arrive.
But then Warren finds something. Something impossible. When the first bee in a hundred years crawls out of the earth, Warren forms a strange bond with the creature and Solma fears he might have a new power. One that leaders of Alphor would kill for. As she and Warren fight to keep the bee secret and safe, word of this miracle sweeps the continent. Allies and enemies alike descend on the village. Some demand the bees for themselves, others want to destroy the colony to level the odds. When words become threats and then violence, Solma and Warren are caught in the conflict, and now it isn’t just the bees in danger.
When whoever controls the bees controls the world, how will Solma and Warren know who to trust?
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The raiders converge on the storehouse, appearing out of the smog with weapons raised. They don’t move quickly, they don’t need to. They know they’ve got the squads surrounded and so they advance with that hideous swagger of a predator tormenting cornered prey. Solma shoots one in the throat and winces as he falls to the ground.
Earth! They’re like an army. She’s shot four or five already and yet the raiding party is still bigger than any she’s ever fought. Ten … twenty … thirty of them. She doesn’t have enough bullets. Nobody does. Something twists in her gut. This is not a regular band of outlaws. There’s something different about them. Something about their uniforms, their numbers …
Solma can’t get her head round it. Who are they?
A shot from behind her and one of the raiders slumps to the floor. The others quicken their speed, weapons raised. They’re silhouetted against the growing fire, silent against the distant screams. Solma lifts her rifle, lowers her eye to the sight, lines the cross-hairs and fires.
One shot. Two. Three.
The men crumple and fall. Why are they all men? That’s not normal, either. A fourth shot, a fifth.
The sixth that rings out comes from the attackers and Solma feels a jolt in her prosthetic leg. She swears, glances down. There’s a tear in her trousers and a long, pale scratch against the black material of her prosthesis, but the bullet only clipped her. She swings her rifle until she finds the man with his pistol aimed at her. She fires. He falls.
Olive’s voice drifts back through the chaos, sharp and impatient as always, but a line of Guards now snakes around the storehouse, ferrying buckets of water. The glow of the fire slackens, but not enough to call it a victory. Solma lowers her rifle, pulls the charging handle, which flings the empty shells to the ground. She shoves a new magazine in just in time to fire a round into a raider with a hammer. He falls with a grunt, his head snaps back. The hammer falls from his grip.
But there are more. So many more. Where have they all come from?
On her left, Maxen edges towards her, rifle raised, firing and reloading.
“Who the hell are these people?” he roars.
Solma doesn’t answer. In her periphery, a movement catches her attention and horror blooms in her belly. She turns, rifle now hanging uselessly in one arm.
The clump of grass that hides the bunker has moved and a little figure is crawling out into the chaos. Through the smog it’s almost impossible to see, but Solma knows. She’d know that little outline anywhere. And she has a horrible feeling she knows what her little brother is doing. That damn bee has disappeared and he’s crawled into the middle of a battle to look for it.
About the Author
Rebecca has been obsessed with two things since she learned to walk and talk: stories and animals. Luckily, the two seem to be very compatible. Rebecca writes stories set in strange worlds filled with bizarre creatures, strong female characters and magical powers. She started her writing career as a poet, performing all over the country and publishing her first collection, Octopus Medicine, with Two Rivers Press in 2017.
In addition to writing, Rebecca is also a teacher and, in 2018, decided that she wanted to write quality books for the young people she works with. Her books tend towards themes of respect for the environment, protecting the planet and the new generations challenging the old to face up to their mistakes.
She lives in Reading, UK, with her unusual family, which includes herself and her partner, a friendly little mini-lop rabbit (called Cleo) and a gregarious and feisty quaker parrot (called Maya).
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