It's the start of another school year at St Ambrose. But while the children are in the classroom colouring in, their mothers are learning sharper lessons on the other side of the school gates. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power... and how to get invited to lunch.Beatrice - undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fund-raising, this year, last year and, surely, for many years to come.Heather - desperate to volunteer, desperate to be noticed, desperate just to belong.Georgie - desperate for a fag.And Rachel - watching them all, keeping her distance. But soon to discover that the line between amused observer and miserable outcast is a thin one.Wickedly funny and brilliantly observed, The Hive is a fascinating and subtle story about group politics and female friendship. From the joys and perils (well, mainly perils) of the Lunch Ladder, to the military operation that is the Car Boot Sale, via the dos and don'ts of dressing your child as a Dalek, all human life is here.