In The Case of the Modern Pirate, John Sebastian Blake was a merchant seaman who realized his boyhood dream of being a pirate, albeit with results which were fatal to himself.

Blake had been born on the Devon coast and had always dreamed of a maritime career. As a boy, he had read a book about pirates and determined to become one. After obtaining good results at school, Blake signed on as an apprentice in the merchant navy and subsequently passed all his examinations with flying colours. When he was 26, his father had died and left him a sum of 12 thousand pounds. This sum of money gave Blake the opportunity to embark on his plan to go "a-pirating".

Blake teamed up with an American merchant seaman named Nicholas Diaz and together set up a ship-broking business. They chartered a ship named Cygnet under false pretenses and sailed her for Lisbon where it picked up some cargo and then headed for CapeTown.

Off the coast of Africa, Blake called his crew together and announced his intention to embark on a career as a pirate, offering treble pay and bonuses to those who would join him. Flotsam, lifebelts and lifeboats carrying the ship's name were then jettisoned and the ship repainted and renamed Pauline. The Pauline called at Cape Town where its cargo was sold for cut prices and another load taken on for South America. Departing Cape Town, the ship was again repainted and renamed, this time to Corinthia which put it at Brisbane and took on another load of cargo, including bar gold.

The Corinthia subsequently got caught in a typhoon and was beached in a creek somewhere between Karhar Island and Wewak on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. There the crew was discharged and most of them decided to travel across the island to Port Moresby--an ardous journey which no one survived except for a crewman named Farrow who brought Blake's story to the authorities.

Blake and Diaz remained behind and buried the gold near the wreck. They then stayed for a while in a village of Kobe tribesman near the location of the ship. There, Blake was killed by Diaz during a violent argument. his body was subsequently found and identified by Father Antoinne, a Catholic priest belonging to the Sacre Coeur Mission who served among the native villages in the region.

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