288 pages, 129 × 198 × 0.68 in
September 20, 2012
Simon & Schuster UK
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1416522794
ISBN - 13: 9781416522799
Read from the Book
It was only a dead ape. Patrick had seen dozens, one way or another. He'd seen them die naturally, of old age and disease - and heard the war-shrieks as they murdered each other. He'd watched them cannibalize their young. But this was Rue, who'd been at Monkeyland since 1982 - fourteen years. She'd been rescued after a tabloid ran shots of her, a powerful ape at a travelling circus, cowering in baffled misery while a trainer beat her with a riding crop. Rue had grown old at Monkeyland. And Patrick, who knew better, couldn't help but think of her as wise. It was her toffee brown eyes, her pursing, grey-haired lips; the unhurried way she sucked at half an orange. That morning, Saturday, he found her corpse in a far corner of the enclosure. She was twisted up, her face locked in a death grin. The other chimps, alarmed by the spastic violence of her seizures, had retreated to the edges of the compound, leaving Rue alone to die. They were still there - softly grunting, curious - when Patrick arrived. He knelt to inspect the corpse. Late the previous night, somebody - kids, probably - must have entered Monkeyland and thrown poisoned food into the A-Compound. Perhaps Rue, most trusting of creatures, had been alone in accepting it; because only Rue, most trusting of creatures, had died. Patrick knew that local kids gained entry to Monkeyland through a gap in the northern perimeter fence. One of the groundsmen had told him about it, in the very early days. The gap was beh
From the Publisher
Strange things are happening in Monkeyland, the ailing Devonshire sanctuary that Patrick and his zoologist wife, Jane, took on in a bid to save their marriage. Their oldest female primate, the wise and gentle Rue, is found murdered in a corner of the compound. And a big, panther-like cat, preys around the park. It evades capture, lurking in the shadows and in the back of Patrick's mind. Private, threatening, elusive.
With Patrick's son, Charlie, having left Monkeyland in disgrace, his wife on a field trip in Zaire and Jo avidly tracking the 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, that it rips apart everything Patrick had ever held to be true. They say that a parent's worse nightmare is to suffer the death of a child. But what if that's not true?
Natural History is a work of exquisite tension. Building towards a climax so devastating it subverts every expectation, it is a brutally compelling investigation into what it is to be human, what it is to experience guilt - and what it means to be without it.