James’s Swiss cousin, Victor, has retired to live in seclusion in a bizarre villa in Sardinia, surrounded by the surreal artworks of his artist friend, Poliponi. Victor has had enough of the world of men and wants to live out his days in peace. He loves the finer things in life, wine, art, music and good food, but events on the island make him realise that he can’t hide from the world forever.

‘No, it is me who must apologise,’ said Victor, his expression softening. ‘I did not mean to get angry, but there are rumours that the Millenaria are here on the island, and I do not want to think about such things. Life should be for pleasure, not for war.’