Vendetta is a 13-year-old whose father was killed in a feud between two Sardinian bandit families. She has lived a harsh life among people whose arguments are settled with the gun or the knife. After a night of hideous torture, she rescues James and nurses him back to health.

‘The guard was sitting in the water, slumped against a slimy rock, his head tipped backwards, his eyes staring and white-rimmed, his mouth open in a silent scream of terror. Below his chin was what looked like a second mouth cut into his throat. The girl had sliced clean across it with her knife.’