In the story, the gentlemen narrator, Humphrey Van Weyden, is pitted against an amoral sea captain, Wolf Larsen, in a clash of idealism. The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Fancisco Bay, and plcuked from the sea by Larsen's seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. Pressed into service as a cabin boy by the ruthless captain, Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a brutal shipboard drama. Larsen's increasingly violent abuse of the crew fuels a mounting tension that ultimately bolts into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation.
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