The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen's seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. This ship's evil captain, Wolf Larsen - The Sea-Wolf - is a murderous tyrant who uses his superhuman strength to torture and destroy, his brilliant mind to invent sick games, and his relentless will to control his mutinous crew. 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 boils into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation.
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