The Sea Wolf by Jack London
Click here to get it from amazon as an eBook optimized for Kindle for $0.99.
Click here to access this book as free e-book from the Guttenberg project. Since I don’t have an e-book reader, I’m not sure if that is the correct link to get an ebook or if it just gives you a web page where you can read it.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars rating.
It is no wonder that this book rates as good literature. It is a fascinating story of character development as our hero goes from being a “gentleman” used to having others do everything for him to being able to stand on his own two feet.
The setting is a sailing schooner that is part of the seal hunting fleet (it never says specifically, but I think sometime in the late 1880’s ). It is an essay on human nature and the nature of life, wrapped up in an adventurous love story. Jack London said it was based on a real life sea captain he knew.
There are two main characters in the story. “Wolf” Larson is larger than life, dominating the narrative, the characters and the plot. He is absolutely certain in his conviction that the purpose of life is to live, no more, no less. Humphrey Van Weyden is the gentlemen used to having others take care of things for him and living off of investments made by his father. He is convinced of the immortality of the soul and forced to stand on his own two feet or die in the harsh environment of both elements and men. Their dialog is riveting and there are of course storms, shipwrecks, fights and all sorts of water based adventures as people are driven to desperation by the cruelties of Wolf Larsen.
I actually read this book as a child. I just finished it again (listening to it on CD) on my long drives to work. It made the time fly by. Definitely worth the read.