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Casino Royale: Chapters 4 through 8

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#1 Donovan



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Posted 25 March 2003 - 05:46 AM

Thus far, we have met Bond and M. and know quite a bit about Le Chiffre. The plan, as devised by Head of S., is approved and Bond will execute it. Everything looks promising in France, right up to the point that Bond is reunited with his friend Rene Mathis, who boisterously informs him that his cover is blown. More 'bad' news for Bond: his assistant from London is a pretty female. The idea doesn't sit well with Bond, and Fleming thoroughly relays Bond's displeasure. A nice history of the 'Casino Royale' is detailed at the beginning of Chapter 5. Then we learn about Bond's 4.5 litre Bentley...which he purchased in 1933. If you are a reader of later Fleming Bond novels, particularly 'You Only Live Twice', this date will cause you to stop and wonder how old Bond supposedly was in 1933 when he bought the car.

And then we meet Vesper. It is during Fleming's description of her that I realized there is nary a page where there is no mention of color or other sense used in conveying a scene or person. Vesper Lynd herself is vividly described. This is more evidence of Fleming's journalistic instinct for thoroughly describing every minute detail (tactfully embelleshed for juicing up a thriller) as part of telling the whole story.

Another excellent sample of Fleming's descriptive style immediately follows, as a terrifying public incident occurs. In the world of Bond films, explosions and death-defying stunts happen left and right so that we're pretty much used to them. The passages in 'Casino Royale' detailing the single explosion in a park, the flash, the exploding glass, the smell of detonated explosives, the smell of 'roast mutton'---it all reads like the first-hand account of a suicide bombing ripped from the pages of a recent newspaper. This is not something one reads and enjoys the way one enjoys watching a modern Bond film. But it is wickedly engrossing.

The Man from the C.I.A.

James Bond meets Felix Leiter. Leiter is an instantly likeable character, much like Mathis, and it is interesting to read about his role in this adventure. He is under Bond's orders, and there is no immediate or foreseeable tasks for him. Nevertheless, after thr trouble that the opposition has been making for Bond, it is important for his nerves and focus to have capable people on his team.

What better way to enjoy being alive than to eat an excellent meal? What follows demonstrates more of the Bond staples that are to come in future adventures: fine food and drinks. In the upper-class setting of Royale, one senses something of the taste of the finer things in life. Bond orders his famous vodka martini with Leiter, and later has a huge dinner with Vesper, starting with caviar and plenty of toast and champagne, and vodka. Imagine having an expensive meal with a beautiful woman. Even Bond, who is intent and focused on his job, lets himself enjoy the evening a bit.