The novel addresses ideas of society and community, human nature and identity, religion, the dangers of unchecked and irresponsible scientific research, Darwinism and eugenics.
The novel is presented as a discovered manuscript, introduced by the narrators' nephew, it then 'transcribes' the tale.
Edward Prendick is shipwrecked in the South Seas. Rescued by Moreau's assistant Montgomery he is taken to the doctor's home. There he discovers the doctor has been experimenting on the animal inhabitants of the island creating bizarre proto-humans.