Johan Faber / Johan Faber – The Solitary Pilot

Johan Faber – The Solitary Pilot

Johan Faber – The Solitary Pilot

Read a sample translation of The Solitary Pilot


About the book

Based on the unforgettable true story of Mathias Rust from Hamburg, who at the age of eighteen flew his Cessna straight across the Iron Curtain into the heart of Moscow.

On 28 May 1987, as the Cold War was nearing its end, an eighteen-year-old amateur pilot from West Germany landed on the Red Square in Moscow in a Cessna light aircraft. Images of the extraordinary stunt went around the globe, and the self-proclaimed ‘messenger of peace’ became famous overnight.

Many years later, the long-forgotten Kremlin flyer was tracked down by a Dutch researcher. In Hamburg, a city stricken by terrorist attacks, the two men meet and confront not just the past but each other. Were the young West-German’s motives so pure? And what does he have to do with the current wave of terrorism?

The Solitary Pilot is the incredible tale of a man who did the unthinkable. Part adventure story, part psychological duel, part interior monologue and based on historical facts, this novel will keep readers in suspense to the last page.


‘Although I was by far the youngest member of Aeroclub Hamburg and in fact had only clocked up fifty flying hours, in that short time I had built up a reputation as a good, disciplined pilot. The fact that I was a quiet boy, without a grain of bravura, must have contributed to that. It didn’t occur to me to attempt stunts with my plane for a change of pace; I listened to the instructor and followed procedures obediently. I knew many new pilots who pushed the boundaries, boys who constantly took too little notice of weather forecasts. If in doubt, into the air. Then turning figures of eight over their homes or tricks of that kind. It seemed to be part of the job, but I didn’t join in. Not because I lacked the courage, but because I thought it was so childish. I dreamed big.’

Johan Faber (b. 1970) published a number of successful sports books with Thomas Rap, including The Marco Mystery and Alpe d’Huez: The Dutch mountain, before writing his first novel, Wende, which appeared in 2012. For his second novel, The Veteran, he was awarded the Dioraphte Literatour Prize in 2015.

(c) Merlijn Doomernik

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789400405257
  • Number of pages: 272
  • World Rights: Thomas Rap
  • Price: €19,99
  • English sample available