Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Tim Tigner has never shied away from exploring hypothetical ideas in as much depth as his profound imagination allowed it, and in Stolen Thoughts he looks at a piece of technology which humanity might yet live to see one day. The story is centred on a young bio-engineering student who makes a life-changing breakthrough: a device allowing thought-based communication with the impaired. However, someone years earlier made the same discovery, and is intent on keeping it hidden.
Table of contents
Tim Tigner Redefines the Sanctity of Thought
The desire to read other people’s minds is likely as old as the concept of thought itself, and despite the tremendous efforts which have been poured into cracking the code, we’ve come no closer to achieving the goal after thousands of years. However, perhaps it’s for the best we don’t make any progress in the area, for the consequences could be as disastrous as in Tim Tigner‘s Stolen Thoughts.
Technically-speaking, this book can be considered a sequel to The Price of Time, although the connection is really only limited to some returning characters. Plot-wise, I would consider this novel to very much be a standalone work, and you are in no way required to have read the previous book… though I do recommend you also check it out when you have a moment.
The plot opens by introducing us to Victoria Pixler, a bio-engineering student, who was victim of a car crash along with her mother. The accident left both of them deaf, but Victoria isn’t about to let it stand between them. Accomplishing a breakthrough few could dream of, she develops a device which allows them to communicate by thought.
Essentially, she develops a mind-reading device, and finds the best use for it: she becomes a famous fortune-teller in Las Vegas. As much as she tries to use her technology without showing it to the world, someone has caught wind of it, someone who made the discovery many years ago and is afraid of seeing themselves exposed.
Logically-enough, the decision is made to eliminate Victoria, but she proves a harder target than anticipated. Along the way she inevitably must face the tremendous responsibility, power and curse brought on by the ability to read minds, and carefully navigate the consequences of her invention which could prove disastrous on a global scale.
The Great Technological Intrusion in Stolen Thoughts
Whether we like it or not, modern technology dominates our lives, and in the past century we’ve developed a sickly over-reliance on electricity. While the advancements in this realm seem to be coming along faster and faster, I think more and more of us are becoming doubtful as to humanity’s ability to adequately assess the consequences of such an unprecedented growth.
Technologies are rapidly coming along and being adapted into daily life without so much as a second thought, and it feels like only a matter of time before a breakthrough we cannot fully understand takes hold of humanity and drastically alters the course of its history. It sounded like pure science-fiction a while back, but mind-reading isn’t in the realm of the absurdly impossible anymore, and for me this was in large part what drew me into Stolen Thoughts.
While I won’t venture to say how much Tim Tigner agrees or disagrees with my point of view, I think he does an absolutely phenomenal job at exploring both the short and long-term consequences of mind-reading, both on smaller and larger scales. Thankfully, his ideas in this regard are far from being fear-mongering, instead appearing like an attempt to logically deduce the consequences of a hypothetical situation.
I especially enjoyed the amount of detail in which he depicted the effects such an invention would have on interpersonal relations, demonstrating just how much of our current world order is possible thanks to the privacy of our thoughts. He makes quite a compelling case for it being one of the frontiers we shouldn’t violate at any cost.
The world in which the action takes place only reinforces the idea of technological growth spinning out of control, with there being plenty of smaller events and observations illustrating how we’re dependant on like invalids on crutches.
The Thrill of Altering the World
As much as Stolen Thoughts might be filled with real world criticisms and ideas, it’s all weaved into a pretty fast-paced plot with plenty of excitement in its own right. Victoria Pixler is constantly facing one challenge after the next, and frankly, I was a little taken aback at the creativity with which Tim Tigner solved the dead ends he was seemingly painting himself into.
In my opinion, this is one of the elements which elevates a good thriller into a great one. The former always gives you an idea as to how the characters might get out of a situation, while the latter manages to keep you puzzled until the very last moment.
The scale of the plot, so-to-speak, also continues to grow as we get further along into the story and the danger which Victoria’s invention represents to the world right along with it. The escalation is masterfully conducted all the way until the very end, and many were the times when I forgot all about the more philosophical elements of the story, even if they were right in my face.
As I mentioned at the start, there are some returning characters from the previous book, namely Zachary Chase and Skylar Fawkes. They’re having their own little exciting adventure revolving around a hit-and-run accident which puts their fake identities at risk. They offered a welcome deviation from the main branch of the story, and an enjoyable respite from a world threatened by a nigh-apocalyptic event.
|375||Independently published||May 1 2021||979-8628758328|
Like everything which precedes it, the ending of Stolen Thoughts is also clever in its own right and as satisfying as I imagine it could have been. Closing the page on some chapters, it still leaves us with tangible material for personal reflection on topics which spill beyond the contents of the book.
The Final Verdict
Stolen Thoughts by Tim Tigner is a brilliant medical thriller which explores the profound ramifications of mind-reading and bio-engineering through an exciting story with truly original twists and memorable moments. If you enjoy action-packed stories and are interested in the idea of thought-reading and its many ramifications, then you’ll get a lot of enjoyment and food for thought out of this book.
Tim Tigner is a former Green Beret and counterintelligence officer who began writing thrillers in 1996 while staying in Moscow. His writing gained a lot of success when many of his stories became bestsellers, most notably his Kyle Achilles series, including titles such as Pushing Brilliance and The Lies of Spies. He has also written some standalone novels, including Coercion, Leonardo and Gabriel and The Price of Mind.