Marlin is not slow or mute; what he 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, renowned for his daring exploits on the dark continents, taming wild beasts, and filling in the blank spaces on the map. Roland 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 in the mid-nineteenth century. For Roland, each day is a new opportunity to cast a light into the dark recesses of the world; for Marlin, each day is a struggle: to speak, to communicate, to live up to the lofty expectations that his family name carries. This isn’t easy when the only people who understand him are his father and his pet monkey. 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.