According to the introduction, this book was inspired by cave art Eshleman encountered in France, and believed to be misunderstood by everyone else who had ever written about it. For his predecessors, these paintings were simply a reflection of the daytime activities of Cro-Magnon man. For Eshleman, however, these paintings seem to be much more. Thus his poetry acts as a journey through his discovery process of what these paintings are to him, as well as a study of prehistory towards the Paleolithic and subsequently a study of Hell, and the Greek Underworld.
The subjects are much more profound, though, than simply cave paintings. According to a review in The Rev, "to say this is a book of poems about cave paintings is only to scratch the surface; Eshleman is deep into the realm of shamanism here, along with feminism, his usual surrealism, various symbologies, ancient history, animism, and a whole host of other topics I could spend a whole thousand-word review going over."
Eshleman himself says that "By beginning to look at Paleolithic cave art from the viewpoint of the simultaneous psychic organization and disintegration, I hope to be extending our sense of gods and imaginative activity way beyond the Greeks, so that human roots may be seen as growing in a context that does not preclude the animal from a sense of the human."