A former pilot for Nazi Germany's air force writes in a forthcoming book that he believes he shot down the author of "The Little Prince," Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The aviation pioneer's Lockheed Lightning P-38 disappeared July 31, 1944. In the book, former Luftwaffe pilot Horst Rippert says he believes that he shot down the plane — although he is not completely sure.

Le Figaro magazine published extracts of the book, "Saint-Exupery, the ultimate secret," over the weekend.

Saint-Exupery remains one of France's most admired figures.