The Olive Tree charts Carol Drinkwater's colourful and often dangerous journey in search of the routes that olive cultivation has taken over the centuries. Set during a springtime Mediterranean that is evocative and perennial, it is above all a tale of our time. Troubled by challenges her own South of France farm is experiencing - attack by a virulent pest, the premature ripening of the trees' fruits - Carol realises new approaches to farming are becoming essential. Traditional customs have been set aside while the use of excessive chemicals is putting the harvests of her crops (and others) at risk. Changing patterns within the world's climate demand urgent action. Carol's quest takes her south through Spain - now the home of more olive trees than anywhere else on earth - Morocco, Algeria and Italy before she finally returns to her farm. As a woman travelling alone, she is frequently vulnerable and never more so than in Algeria where, on her arrival, terrorist bombs are exploding, devastating the capital. Determined not to give up, Carol accepts the support of a network of beekeepers who guide her across troubled territories. Through her travels and vivid, sometimes unlikely encounters, Carol confronts some of the critical issues of our time - land-care and the harsh realities of diminishing water reserves - and ends her momentous journey in the company of olive growers whose vision for the future is remarkable and ingenious.
©2009 Carol Drinkwater; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
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