The highest paid author during the 1930s William Somerset Maugham was raised by a paternal uncle after both of his parents died before he was ten. For five years he studied medicine at the medical school of St Thomas's Hospital in Lambeth. The initial run of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full-time. During the First World War, he served with the Red Cross and in the ambulance corps, before being recruited in 1916 into the British Secret Intelligence Service, for which he worked in Switzerland and Russia before the October Revolution of 1917. The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful, but love-starved Kitty Fane set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s. She is conducting an affair with Charles Townsend, the Assistant Colonial Secretary, and the two are in her room when the knobs to her door mysteriously turn from the outside. She worries that her husband may have discovered her affair, but then she recalls their loveless match. She married Walter after several years of unsuccessfully seeking a match who would win her mother's approval. Kitty believes she loves Charlie, that he is equally devoted to her and would gladly leave his wife to be with her. Then Walter discovers her affair, and Kitty’s pretty little world comes crashing down around her. She slowly comes to understand that she must choose between withering away in despair and growing toward a light she is only just discovering. You can listen online to free English audiobook “The Painted Veil” by William Somerset Maugham on our website.