With The Sea Wolf Jack London introduces one of American literature’s most enduring antagonists: Wolf Larsen, the ironfisted and selfishly hedonistic captain of the Ghost, a seal-hunting schooner. Larsen, a rugged individualist, is oddly matched with rakish scholar Humphrey Van Weyden, cast adrift at sea and forced into servitude aboard the Ghost. Performer John Chatty imbues Van Weyden with old-world intellectualism, gradually hardened as he describes his cruel ordeal aboard Larsen’s ship. Cindy Hardin chimes in as poet Maud Brewster, also adrift at sea, finding herself the rattled and reluctant love interest of both Larsen and Van Weyden. As Larsen’s heavy-handed tactics begin to backfire, Van Weyden must decide whether to adopt his captain’s nihilistic individuality, or embrace the altruistic humanism of his upbringing.
In this saga of the sea, Jack London creates a gripping, heroic struggle between two contrasting types, Wolf Larson and Humphrey Van Weyden.
The book begins when Weyden's ship sinks in San Francisco harbor. Rescued by Larson, Weyden is forced to serve as cook's scullion. Larson's heads for the Bering Sea where Van Weyden finds human cruelty matched only by nature but he also finds something else when a young lady is also rescued by Larson.