This novel centers on the unlikely friendship between two boys, Jacob Mueller and Mike McCallum. Jacob seems to be from a different world. After mystifying experts and doctors, who finally decide that he is an elective mute, Jacob ends up in a juvenile group home, isolated and withdrawn, the butt of teasing by the other kids. Mike exists in his own private hell. Scarred physically and emotionally after the murder of his younger brother, his one aim is to survive the system until he is legally old enough to get out. He uses his horrific appearance, imposing size, sharp intelligence, and a calculated brutality to keep everyone at bay--until he encounters Jacob. Almost despite himself, Mike is fascinated by Jacob, particularly the way in which he seems able to shut out the world around him. This fascination deepens and becomes tinged by a mixture of awe and horror when Jacob starts to talk, and appears to have knowledge of Mike's past, and in particular of his dead brother. Mike takes it upon himself to solve the puzzle that is Jacob Mueller, and when he comes to what seems to him to be the impossible conclusion that Jacob is from another time, he makes it his mission to return him home. In order to do so, Mike has to make hard choices: choices which could offer the chance of redemption, but only at great cost.
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