The Blood of Angels

Reading material

Reading materials:
Finnish edition
English edition
French edition

Original title: Enkelten verta

Published: 2011

Publisher: Teos

Class/genre: Fantasy & S/F

Pages: 275

“The queen is dead. The bees are gone. Thus, the world is about to end. But if you follow the bees, there are doors in the air. And a desperate man is ready to go through one.”

Albert Einstein is claimed to have said that if bees disappear from the earth, mankind has four years left to live. When mass bee-vanishings of unprecedented scope and devastation hit the United States, Orvo, a beekeeper, knows all too well where it will lead. And one day, when Orvo goes to check on his hives, he is forced to witness something he wishes he had never lived to see. The queen is dead. The epidemic has spread to Europe. The world is coming to an end.

The light of Orvo’s life is his son, Eero, whose secret animal activist existence Orvo discovers far too late. Eero’s activities as a defender of animal rights and an ardent opponent of Orvo’s inherited way of life propel the family into irreversible, gutwrenching conflict. Orvo takes a desperate step onto a path where only he and the bees know the way… This novel is a magical plunge into the myth of death and immortality, a tale of human blindness in the face of overwhelming choices and inevitabilities.

Rights sold:
World English, Peter Owen
Denmark, Jensen & Dalgaard
France, Actes Sud
Poland, Foksal


“A compelling and intimate rumination on animal rights, world food supply, and the indispensable role of bees to our environment…The story is told with a quiet, literary precision and is a welcome addition to the sometimes raucous and violent nature of dystopian literature.”
– Booklist, U.S, starred review

“At the intersection of science and fiction, award-winning Finnish author Sinisalo digs deep into a character who’s searching for answers about his child, his life, and what may come after. Stunning prose takes the reader down a twisting path between gritty eco­terrorism and another world, with winged messengers leading the way.”
– Library Journal, U.S, starred review

“A new novel by Finnish author Sinisalo uses harrowing ecological collapse and an idyllic parallel world to examine both the possibility of global disaster and one man’s surreal, life-altering experience of grief…Sinisalo’s novel engages in a fierce discussion of ecological choices while also imagining an unusually picturesque, Orpheus-tinged search for love beyond death.”
– Kirkus Reviews, U.S

“As [main character] Orvo’s life story emerges – particularly his complex relationships with his son, father, and grandfather – the reader will be moved to contemplate the unforeseen ways that each generation influences the next….a dour but impressive novel by renowned Finnish fantasist Sinisalo.”
– Publishers Weekly, U.S

“A melding of thesis novel, fantasy novel and environmental thriller, The Blood of Angels enthralls… this paranoid tale of the world’s decline should make readers see bothersome bees in a completely new light.”
– L’Opinion, Quotidien Paris, France

Johanna Sinisalo chills the blood with her vision of the disappearance of bees (…) Sinisalo succeeds wonderfully in depicting the threats facing the entire world through one individual’s personal tragedy”
– Aamulehti newspaper, Finland

Johanna Sinisalo

Johanna Sinisalo (b. 1958) is one of Finland’s most successful and internationally acclaimed authors. Praised by readers and critics alike, she has won several literary prizes, among them the Finlandia Prize in 2000 and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 2004. Johanna Sinisalo has been nominated for the Prix Escapades 2012, the Tähtivaeltaja (“Star Traveller”) award in 2014 and the Nebula Award in 2008. Her works have been translated into 19 languages.


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