A good old fashioned monster tale set in the Brazilian jungle. It’s almost a shame that the monsters in the story are given away in the title. The author does a good job of building the mystery and giving glimpses of the terror.
Young anthropologist Jane Sewell returns to the Brazilian tribe she has been studying with her father, only to find the village deserted. All that is left of the former residents is a pile of stripped clean bones and a (temporarily) mute boy.
Before she can begin to work out what has happened, she has to rescue a pilot who crashes nearby. It turns out he flies for a local plantation owner, so the three of them head in that direction.
Only as they near the plantation is the threat revealed- mutant ants! Not giant mutant ants, as you might imagine from the cover, but telepathic mutant ants. That can sometimes communicate with humans, and they’ve enslaved other ants to help them.
There’s lots of soap opera stuff going on at the plantation- the owner’s wife is carrying on with the manager and the local workers are reverting to superstition- which play out in fairly obvious ways as, one by one, they get eaten alive.
In the end, it’s a race to the river, with a little help from a different ant colony. The wrap up is rushed, after all the build up, but it’s a fun, if occasionally predictable, journey to get there.