The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
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Humphrey, an intellectual homebody, is at the mercy of the sea after a collision aboard a ferry near San Francisco. At his rescue, however, one wonders if Humphrey might have been better off left adrift. His savior, a captain by the name of Wolf Larsen, is everything Humphrey is not: brutal, callous, and practical as hell. Worse, the ship's crew is almost as intimidating as Wolf.
"Hump" is immediately set to cabin boy duties, while Wolf continues to enact a reign of terror over his crew. As the schooner continues about its course, mishaps and toils abound, forcing Humphrey to become resilient in ways he's never imagined.