At the same time that Marie-Laure is sitting in her home, an 18-year-old German soldier named Werner Pfennig is sitting in a hotel, the so-called “Hotel of Bees,” five streets north. The hotel used to be a popular, lively destination for tourists. Now it’s become a fortress for Austrian soldiers. Werner and his fellow soldiers have equipped the hotel with a huge cannon that they nickname “Her Majesty.”
In this chapter, we begin to understand the structure of the book. Marie-Laure has her storyline, and Werner Pfennig has his. At first, there seems to be no connection between Werner and Marie-Laure aside from their age and location—but the rest of the novel is about establishing this connection, however fragile it might be.
Werner prepares to fire Her Majesty. He hears the airplanes approaching, and he fires—the cannon gives a deafening roar. Werner shouts, “They’re really coming?” but no one answers him.
The chapter ends on a note of isolation—not only between Werner and his enemies, but also between Werner and his supposed friends.