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 '14 at 18:02
  • Are you thinking of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? – Mr Lister Aug 8 '14 at 18:20
  • No; it was definitely a strict fantasy setting (that was more alternate-earth, or started there for the first book). The familiars were similar to daemons in some ways (i.e. they stayed with one person and were more intelligent than non-familiar animals), but only magic-users had them. Thanks for the thought though! – PeterL Aug 8 '14 at 20:54
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    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 '14 at 21:55
  • I vaguely remember reading a similar story, let me know if any of this is ringing any bells: - A river that switches its course annually; one year it flows through some arid regions, the other it flows through an underground kingdom. But the switch mechanism is broken and the people in the arid regions are suffering. - Some people occasionally hear a mysterious siren song that beckons them to go into a certain direction. The people that follow that call are never seen again. The female protagonist can hear this sound too. - in the finale the spirit of earth itself is in danger of "waking up". – HugoRune Aug 8 '14 at 23:15

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 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 11:30

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