Casino Royale | Study Guide

Ian Fleming

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Casino Royale | Chapter 15 : Black Hare and Grey Hound | Summary

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Summary

Immediately recognizing the note as a forgery, James Bond jumps into his own car and chases the Citroën down the dusty highway. He curses Vesper and M. as he drives. He had known "these blithering women who thought they could do a man's work" were nothing but trouble. They should just stay at home and "leave men's work to the men." Muttering "the silly bitch" to himself, he can't believe Vesper fell for such a lame trick. Bond vows he won't swap his 40-million-franc check for Vesper—"the job [is] more important than her." He decides to try to catch the Citroën and shoot at it without a care whether Vesper gets hurt in the process. If he can't find it, he'll go back to the hotel and pretend he doesn't know what happened to her.

The perspective switches to the people inside the Citroën. Le Chiffre is driving. The Corsican is in the front passenger seat, while Vesper and the tall, thin gunman sit in the back. Vesper's skirt is tied in a knot over her head, trapping her arms. When Le Chiffre sees Bond's car in the rearview mirror, he signals for the Corsican to pull a lever that opens the car's trunk and a carpet of steel spikes drops onto the road. After a few hundred yards, Le Chiffre pulls the car onto a narrow side road and the men get out. Armed and ready, they wait for Bond's Bentley.

Analysis

Bond's misogynistic attitude rages as he hurtles through the French countryside. Not only does he blame Vesper for her own kidnapping, but he doesn't spare a second about what she's suffering at the hands of the enemy. He sees her kidnapping as something that is happening to him, not her. As a woman, her life is worth less than his, as is her job. She should be staying home to "mind [her] pots and pans and stick to [her] frocks and gossip" like a stereotypical 1950s housewife. Bond's torrent of angry thoughts blurs his initial instinct to go after Vesper, and he tells himself he doesn't care if she lives or dies. His mind and his heart are going in different directions. Logic tells him to let go of Vesper and keep the money and himself safe, but his sense of gentlemanly duty still compels him to at least try to save her.

Bond chases after the Citroën in his own Bentley. Both cars are representative of their respective drivers. Le Chiffre's "beetle-browed" Citroën (most likely a Traction Avant) is a bulky vehicle that sits low to the ground. Most likely black, it's the quintessential villain's car. It's also pretty high-tech. Initially released in 1934, it was the first car to ever have front-wheel drive. Its trunk is perfect for holding a stash of secret weapons, like the carpet of spikes meant to disable any car with the misfortune to drive over it. The Citroën isn't known for its speed, but Le Chiffre doesn't need a fast car. He's not trying to get away—he's trying to lure Bond in.

Bond drives a 1931 4.5-liter Blower Bentley. It's not the sleek Aston Martin Bond first drives in 1959's Goldfinger, but it is quite speedy and sporty. It's also incredibly fast. Bond hits 120 miles per hour (mph) while racing after Le Chiffre. Like Bond himself, this particular Bentley is very rare. Only 55 were made between 1929 and 1931. Bond's obsession with it is a mark of his extravagant taste and his desire for the very best things in life.

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