Inspired by real CIA operations, this is the riveting novel
of a fraying CIA analyst who conducts secret mind-control experiments and the
young agent who, years later, uncovers the appalling legacy of the program and
the people destroyed by it.
From its official sanction in 1953 to its shutdown in 1973,
the CIA clandestinely conducted methods of mind control on unwitting American
and Canadian citizens. This covert and illegal operation, Project MKULTRA,
eventually made national headlines upon the declassification of thousands of
documents in 2001.
Intrigued by the people empowered to enact such abuses and
the legacy of such an operation, Scott O’Connor weaves the nuanced and
compelling story of Henry March, a CIA agent forced to spearhead a series of
insidious mind-control experiments in San Francisco. With each passing day,
Henry’s existence becomes a nightmare, his identity withering as he works over
the hapless men lured into his facility. Struggling between his duty to his
country and his responsibility to his wife and children, Henry finally reaches
a breaking point, leaving both his project and mind fractured. Amid the
wreckage, he disappears, becoming the deepest Ultra mystery.
Two decades later, Dickie Ashby, a young CIA agent, is sent
to Los Angeles to infiltrate a group of bank-robbing radicals who claim to have
been abused in a government brainwashing operation years earlier. The members
of the group know they need to find Henry March and that the only bridge to
Henry is his daughter, Hannah, who lives in the city. Dickie suddenly finds
himself dragged into the stunning legacy of the experiments, torn between doing
his job, helping the victims of Henry’s program, and protecting Hannah.
Called “one to watch” (Los Angeles Times) and hailed
for his ability “to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters” (New
York Times), O’Connor will stir your emotions with Half World, a
mesmerizing novel about reality and the basic incorruptible value of human
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