Author gives the MH370 story the Hilary Mantel treatment

There are other accounts of what happened to the disappeared Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, but Capt Verne Pugiev’s just-published book is about as close as you can get.

Pugiev, a nom de plume, is quite obviously the experienced Boeing 777 captain he claims to be, which is a good start if the truth about this “mystery” is what you seek.

The thing that intrigues me about this book is the way he has chosen to describe what happened. Just as the much-lauded writer Hilary Mantel, in her trilogy about King Henry VIII’s life and times, chose to write history in the form of a novel so that she could join all the recorded historic dots, bringing humanity to old academic narratives about the Tudor court, so Pugiev has taken the facts we know about MH370 and woven them into a chilling account of what – more or less certainly – happened.

He could, of course, have written a technical report as if he were an accident investigator, but the form would not have allowed him to fill in between the dots, and it would have been a dry-as-dust read. Meanwhile, as the story of the doomed aircraft recedes further into history, Pugiev clearly wants to fire up readers’ imaginations to keep public curiosity alive.

His book, rather predictably entitled “The Missing Plane: A Chilling Novel Based on the Real-Life Loss of Malaysia Airlines MH370”, is out in paperback.

The factual dots joined up in Pugiev’s story show the author to be a convinced follower of Capt Simon Hardy, a real 777 captain whose mathematical calculations and practical flight simulations of what happened to MH370 represent, in my opinion, the most accurate description of reality available. Back in 2016, Hardy was working with the Australian authorities who were leading the sea-bed search for the wreckage in the southern Indian Ocean.

Intriguingly, when the official search for the MH370 wreckage was abandoned for totally unconvincing reasons, Australia and its Malaysian and Chinese partners studiously avoided looking in Hardy’s predicted MH370 resting place.

Anyway, Pugiev’s narrative takes you as close to what really happened as we can get until MH370s wreckage is finally located and recovered, as it will be for sure.

The only question is when.