The taipan is a large, heavily venomed snake, and the taipan in this horror novel is over twice the normal size--a mutant from the now-uninhabited island of Naraka-pintu. Unprovoked, it attacks anything alive that it finds; it is, you see, The Fiend incarnate. Anyway, millionaire Scott Miller, owner of a huge serpentarium down in Florida, wants a taipan badly, so badly that he has already been to Naraka-pintu--where his Eurasian colleague was killed, leaving his alluring young daughter to be adopted by Scott. And now Scott's master snakehandler in Australia has indeed captured a taipan, but U.S. laws no longer allow importation of snakes. So the gigantic, vicious, 20-foot monster must be smuggled into this country by way of San Diego. The smuggling operation, however, goes awry, and the snake escapes into the California night, killing three people along the way--with Scott, the Eurasian girl, and a venom-seeking chemist in hot pursuit. The taipan, of course, is then free to kill its way through California's neighborhoods--in predictably gruesome scenes of trapped victims screaming in terror. Amateurishly written, without any of the suave horror of Alan Scholefield's Venom (1978), but the highly scare-able Jaws audience will certainly find a few shrieks here.