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.