When a black sailor with tuberculosis boards the Narcissus, the shadow of death falls across the ship and the lingering gloom brings out both the best and the worst in the crew. The harsh endurance test of survival at sea, magnified by the dying sailor's condition, sends the crewmen through an emotional gamut, ranging from pity and selfless compassion to fear, resentment, and a profound hatred that boils perilously close to mutiny. In this 1897 novel, a compelling examination of human character under conditions of extreme danger and stress, Joseph Conrad considers some of his customary preoccupations. His masterful narrative technique captures every nuance of atmospheric tension as it explores issues related to moral dilemmas, isolation, and the psychology of inner compulsions. Conrad drew upon his two decades of experience in the British merchant marine for the vital, memorable characterizations and realistic depictions of seafaring life in this and many of his other works.