Colleen Margaretta McCullough was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and The Ladies of Missalonghi. Before her tertiary education, McCullough earned a living as a teacher, librarian and journalist. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney, she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. The Thorn Birds were written during McCullough’s time working in the Neurology Department at the Yale Medical School. She reportedly typed at least 15,000 words a night over the course of 1975 and 1976 in the physically painful process of producing the 1,000 page manuscript for The Thorn Birds. The lengthy romantic saga set on an outback sheep station, with an affair between a Catholic priest and a country girl at its core, has sold 30 million copies. At the novel’s beginning, Fiona and Paddy Cleary are eking out a meagre living from Padraic’s work as a sheep shearer in New Zealand. Life is hard, especially for Meggie, the only girl among Fiona and Paddy’s children. However, the Clearys receive a notice from Paddy’s wealthy sister, Mary Carson, in Australia, that she wants them to move there and learn to run the operation on Drogheda, her Australian homestead. She tells Father Ralph de Bricassart that they will inherit the property when Mary dies… Enjoy free online English audiobook “The Thorn Birds”, a novel by Colleen McCullough.