Archeologists in the Amazon Basin are savagely massacred and all that survives is a solitary box of relics. This same box begins a circuitous journey from boat to boat, from port to port and ends up a battered delivery to the New York Museum of Natural History only to be relegated to a locked basement and forgotten. Only the black heart of the Amazon never forgets. On the eve of the Museum's massive new exhibition that includes a strange figurine never displayed before, people begin turning up savagely murdered amid rumors of a "Museum beast." Forensic evidence shows the killer to be terrifyingly strong and viciously destructive. Tension builds as a graduate student working in the Museum, Margo Green, discovers a link between the killings, the Amazon expedition deaths and the unusual figurine.