About The Book

Welcome to Bill Yarborough’s website! Explore it and learn about Bill and his upcoming novel, Memories of MK-ULTRA—inspired by his real-life experiences as a child in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program. Manhattan Book Group will publish it in September 2024.

Memories of MK-ULTRA unfolds through two interwoven threads. One, set in the summer of 1958, follows a Nazi-trained psychiatrist at a CIA installation outside of Washington D.C. Charged with engineering super soldiers and spies, Dr. Rudolf Holtzmann uses electroshock, psychoactive drugs, hypnosis, deprivation, and psychological assault to remold the human mind. Unbeknownst to the CIA, Holtzmann has a second agenda–acting as a puppet master to control world events by indoctrinating future political leaders. But as troubling as Holtzmann’s goals are, there are other, even darker forces at work around him.

The second narrative tracks Tommy, Beth, and Curtis as they grow up in rural Maryland, then suburban Texas—unaware of their past in Holtzmann’s MK-ULTRA program. The smart, artistic Beth develops into a rebellious teenager whose search for alternative states of consciousness blends in with the drug-crazed culture of the late 1960s—until her love of books leads her to a career as a science fiction author. Gregarious, tough-guy Curtis dreams of joining the military. Meanwhile, Tommy, plagued by fears and destructive desires, is concerned about his unquenchable obsession to become president of the United States—given his fascination with nuclear war. But he forges ahead, and when he joins the staff of a U.S. congressman, his political career seems set.

As invisible strings pull the three siblings toward their predetermined futures, their puppet master’s plans are complicated by several individuals, including one of the program’s subjects, a fourteen-year-old Mexican Indian boy with shamanic powers, and Holtzmann’s rash CIA assistant, a former Nazi SS concentration camp officer.

But their lives change forever in early adulthood when Curtis has a psychotic break and Beth has a startling vision. These developments and the detective work of Lynn Snyder, a diligent therapist, lead to the surfacing of their buried memories—but will it be enough to unravel the hidden tapestry of deception?

As much as the novel series addresses the appalling things powerful people sometimes do—it’s ultimately about psychological and spiritual transformation.