The setting of the story is Ship-trap Island. Much of the story takes place in the jungle of the islands itself, but the story begins on a boat and then continues to General Zaroff’s house.
At the beginning of the story, Rasinford and Whitney are on a ship talking about Ship-Trap Island. Whitney tells Rainsford that “sailors have a curious dread of the place” (1) but Rainsford knows nothing about the island. Whitney laughs it off as a superstition.
The island is somewhere in the tropics, in the Caribbean. We know that there are giant rocks nearby, but Zaroff has it marked as safe passage.
Zaroff’s house is also quite amazing. It is described as “a lofty structure” and “a palatial chateau.” It has many windows.
It was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows. (p. 4)
The jungle has dense trees, “a tangle of trees and underbrush” and there is a sharp drop off to the ocean below.
Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. (p. 3)
It is definitely a scary, desolate place. Rainsford needs to use all of his wits, because his captor definitely has the advantage here.