Trapped in a cave, five men cut the arm off of another companion in order to ward off starvation. After they are saved, their victim seeks revenge on them one by one.
Set during the period of growing influence of the Indian independence movement in the British Raj, the story begins with the arrival in India of a British woman, Miss Adela Quested, who is joining her fiancé, a city magistrate named Ronny Heaslop. She and Ronny's mother, Mrs. Moore, befriend an Indian doctor, Aziz H. Ahmed.
Anthropologist Dr. Brockton unearths a primitive troglodyte -- an Ice Age "missing link": half-caveman, half-ape -- in a local cave. Through medical experimentation, she manages to communicate with him and domesticate him before he's let loose by an irate land developer and goes on a rampage, terrorizing the local citizenry.
In the 1930s, Count Almásy is a Hungarian map maker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics.
A Muslim ambassador exiled from his homeland, Ahmad ibn Fadlan finds himself in the company of Vikings. While the behavior of the Norsemen initially offends ibn Fadlan, the more cultured outsider grows to respect the tough, if uncouth, warriors. During their travels together, ibn Fadlan and the Vikings get word of an evil presence closing in, and they must fight the frightening and formidable force, which was previously thought to exist only in legend.