Set in a beautiful villa high in the hills above Florence, this seductive and moving novel reveals the full power of desperate love. Mary Panton ignores her desires in the calm of the villa as she contemplates her loveless marriage, but a single act of compassion begins a nightmare of violence that destroys her serenity. She turns for help to the notorious Rowley Flint, and through him she comes to realise that to deny love, with all its passions and risks, is to deny life itself.
William Somerset Maugham, famous as novelist, playwright and short-story writer, was born in 1874, and lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He spent some time at St. Thomas' Hospital with a view to practising medicine, but left to focus exclusively on writing. In 1927, he settled in the south of France, and lived there until his death in 1965.