For nearly sixty years Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was one of the most famous writers in the world. An enormously successful playwright and the author of over a hundred short stories and twenty-one novels - several of which are now established classics - Maugham expertly concealed a private life. Predominantly homosexual, and deeply in love with the charming but dissolute Gerald Haxton, he made a disastrous marriage to Syrie Wellcome which he would escape by travelling and writing extensively in the Far East. A talented linguist, during both world wars Maugham worked for British Intelligence. In between he moved in literary and theatrical circles in London, New York and Hollywood and entertained lavishly at his luxurious villa in the south of France. Outwardly his life was richly rewarding, but privately he suffered anguish from an unrequited love affair and a shocking final betrayal. Acclaimed biographer Selina Hastings has had access to Maugham's extensive private correspondence as well as to important family testimony, which sheds a fascinating new light on this complex and extraordinary man.