The Sea-Wolf might not get as much respect and acclaim as Jack London’s better known works White Fang and The Call of the Wild but it is on the same level and in some ways exceeds them.
Like The Call of the Wild, this book’s main character is a force of pure good who is pulled into a world of evil and the story shows what happens when these two polar opposites come into contact with one another. In The Sea-Wolf however, the main character is not a wolf but a young man. A man who has been stranded at sea and picked up by a ship, captained by an evil and vile person.
The story goes into the relationship between these two characters, the good guy never compromising and always being true to himself and the evil guy who even though he at times treats the good guy like a son and believes that he is just trying to toughen him up, constantly reminds us that he is nonredeemable and beyond help.
The book goes through many twists and turns, adventures, an attempt at a mutiny, revenge and ultimately like every great story – love. This is one of London’s most complex books as far as plot, as he explores a lot in such a small space with this not being a very long book.
Out of everything I have read, this is my favorite Jack London book. It takes the best elements of his other work and then puts them at sea and turns them into somewhat of a swashbuckling tale with more at stake. The human only element adds an extra level of intensity. Granted, I love reading about his wolf characters, but this just shows the power of good within the human spirit itself and I think makes it much more relatable.
Pairs well with: Jack London’s other work.