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Marlin is not slow, or mute; what he is is a stutterer, and that makes it impossible for him to convince people otherwise. What he is also is a Rackham: the youngest son of the world-famous explorer Roland Rackham, who is the owner and proprietor of the Zoo at the Edge of the World, a resort where the well-to-do from all over the world can come to experience the last bit of the wild left in the world at the end of the nineteenth century. In order to impress a powerful duke who comes to visit the zoo, Marlin's father ventures into the jungle and brings back a mysterious black jaguar, now the only one in captivity. Everyone is terrified of the jaguar, including Marlin—until one night, when the jaguar confers upon him a powerful gift. Soon Marlin finds himself with a difficult choice to make and, finally, something to say. If only he can figure out how to say it.