I'm having a hard time remembering much more about the story itself. It involved magic-using characters (mages, wizards, or something else) and at least some of them had familiars. One character (male?) had an entire swarm of bees as his familiar. If I recall correctly, he communicated with them telepathically, and he communicated with the hive mind rather than individual bees. I think he was unique in not having a single animal/creature as his familiar

  • I would have read it probably sometime between 1996-1998. I don't have a sense of how old it was at that time. I checked it out from the public library.
  • Setting was fairly common fantasy -- not set in realistic modern times or anything like that. Low tech, high magic.
  • I read it in English, I have no reason to think it was or wasn't written in English.
  • level of writing was suitable for me as a preteen/teen who read a lot of fantasy novels. Probably similar to Weis/Hickman books (which I would have been reading at around the same time -- I'm not seeing anything familiar in lists of their books though, other than death gate books and darksword, neither of which are what I'm remembering).
  • I think it was a trilogy, but I'm not certain
  • I don't think the character with the bees was the primary protagonist, but I feel like the story was told from his point of view for some chapters.
  • youtube.com/watch?v=YbfoAKet8Vc
    – Valorum
    Aug 8, 2014 at 18:02
  • Are you thinking of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy?
    – Mr Lister
    Aug 8, 2014 at 18:20
  • 5
    Terry Pratchett's Discworld series have a couple of books related to the saga of the witches. One of them is a Granny Weatherwax, which is able to put his mind in animals (including, at some novels, a swarm of bees). They are not familiars, though en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granny_Weatherwax
    – SJuan76
    Aug 8, 2014 at 21:55
  • 1
    I thought about Robin McKinley's "Chalice" when I saw the question. but the timing is way off, aand I think the bees responded to what she needed, rather than her communicating with them. I hope you find it.
    – Megha
    Dec 23, 2015 at 12:58
  • 1
    @Megha That was the first book to come to my mind, as well.
    – Obsidia
    Dec 21, 2019 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


I believe the author is Jonathan Wylie. I believe there were actually 2 trilogies:

I believe the wizard with the bees as a familiar appears in both (but not as the main character) and was named Cai.

  • By the way, these series were really good and I recommend them, if you can still find them
    – David Cram
    Sep 24, 2016 at 12:38
  • Wow, I really think this is it. It seems to have not been super popular, I can't find any really detailed information about it, but some of the stuff I have found seems very familiar. Unbalanced Earth, the book title Dreams of Stone... the cover itself seems familiar. I may have to see if I can find copies, I'm not finding digital versions or a lot of other information. Thanks so much!
    – PeterL
    Sep 27, 2016 at 4:16
  • The Servants of Ark trilogy really sets the stage for the Unbalanced Earth series. The events in the Unbalanced Earth are basically 1 generation later. If you plan on reading them all, probably a good idea to start with the first book in the Servants of Ark (I think the title is "The First Named")
    – David Cram
    Sep 27, 2016 at 11:30

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