When an ancient fissure is jolted in the hills above Los Angeles, the giant cats-in suspended animation since ancient time-awake. And then the deaths begin, attributed at first to the modern hazards of setting up a rich and teeming metropolis so close to the natural mountain habitat of bobcats and wolves. But something else is descending from on high, stalking at night, moving from prehistoric time toward modern civilization.
Hannah Hughes, local newspaperwoman, and Jim Grand, a melancholy anthropologist who's happier studying cave paintings than other people, know the threat is real and more dangerous than anyone realizes. Their self-imposed mission is to find the cats and confront living specimens before their nemesis, Sheriff Malcolm Gearhart, destroys what may be the last link to our ancestors' time. But the cats' preternatural sense of smell is guiding them closer and closer-the cats are on a mission too.