Strange things are happening in Monkeyland, the ailing Devonshire sanctuary that Patrick and his zoologist wife Jane, bought in a bid to save their marriage.
Rue, their oldest, wisest and most gentle female primae is found murdered. And a big, panther-like cat preys around the park. Evading capture, the cat lurks in the shadows and at the back of Patrick's mind. Private, threatening, elusive.
Patrick's son Charlie has left Monkeyland in disgrace, his wife is on a field trip in war-torn Zaire and his daughter Jo is avidly tracking progress of the comet Hale Bopp with her tutor. Patrick is left alone with his black cat and his fears. Until one night something happens that is so shocking, so deplorable and so destructive that it rips apart everything Patrick has ever held to be true.