The story of a soft, domesticated intellectual named Humphrey van Weyden, forced to become tough and self-reliant through exposure to cruel brutality. Onboard a San Francisco ferry when it collides with a ship in the fog and sinks, Humphrey is rescued by Wolf Larsen, captain of the seal-hunting schooner Ghost, bound for Japan. Brutal and cynical, yet also highly intelligent, Larsen rules his ship and terrorizes the crew with the aid of his exceptional strength.
little later I heard the stroke of oars, growing nearer and nearer, and the calls of a man. When he was very near I heard him crying, in vexed fashion, "Why in hell don't you sing out?" This meant me, I thought, and then the blankness and darkness rose over me.
I seemed swinging in a mighty rhythm through orbit vastness. Sparkling points of light spluttered and shot past me. They were stars, I knew, and flaring comets, that peopled my flight among the suns. As I reached the limit of my swing and prepared to rush back on the counter swing, a great gong struck and thundered. For an immeasurable period, lapped in the rippling of placid centuries, I enjoyed and pondered my tremendous flight.
But a change came over the face of the dream, for a dream I told myself it must be. My rhythm grew shorter and shorter. I was jerked from swing to counter swing with irritating haste. I could scarcely catch my breath, so fiercely
This is a brilliant tale of perseverance and development of inner strength. A gentleman-scholar is forcibly enlisted as a crew member on a seal hunting ship under a tyrannical captain. A great book in spite of a clumsy and cliched romantic interest.
Highly reminiscent of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". The philosophical evaluation of the conflict between morality and amorality. The story exposes the duality of human nature through hardship and intimacy. The antagonist is a true anti-hero, someone we love to hate. Quite disturbing if you believe the author's comment that he based the character on a real ship's captain. Enjoy.
The first chapter of this book leaves you feeling like you've been through a shipwreck yourself. Should you be religious, this book may test the strength of your Hull beyond its endurance. A great book which will make you think.