At the start of the story, Sanger Rainsford is sailing south to hunt jaguars in the Amazon with a fellow hunter named Whitney. Rainsford is presented as heartless hunter, unconcerned about the life or feelings of his prey. In the middle of the night, Rainsford accidentally falls over the side of the yacht, but saves himself by swimming to the rocky shore of Ship-Trap Island. He discovers a large manor on a cliff. He knocks at the door and is welcomed by General Zaroff, a man of noble Cossack heritage who apparently lives on the island alone with his servant, a deaf-mute named Ivan.
Zaroff explains that he is the ultimate hunter; he recieved his first gun at the age of 5, and has traveled the world and hunted every possible game animal. Now