Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language. Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but animals she gets especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she ever felt among humans until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what really going on inside. When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and liberating the apes, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he'll risk his career and his marriage to follow.