Review – The Witcher Saga Book Two: The Time of Contempt

The Time of Contempt (The Witcher) By Andrzej Sapkowski
The Time of Contempt (The Witcher) By Andrzej Sapkowski

The Witcher Saga Book Two is an Action-Packed Adventure!

After reading the first book in the Witcher Saga series by Andrzej Sapkowski, Blood of Elves, I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book, The Time of Contempt. As I anticipated, it did not disappoint. The action is non-stop! A war was on the horizon in the first book which is now in full force.  And those that are trying to capture a young girl named Ciri for her extraordinary powers are getting closer every day. In book two we get a glimpse into why she is being hunted. The Witcher, Geralt of Rivera, is still trying to protect her from falling into the hands of those who want to use her powers for evil.   

Contempt:  A Powerful Force

As we learned in book one, the Nilfgaardians are strategically using the sins of the past to help spur contempt across the land. A contempt that has been lying dormant for over 500 years since the humans came to the land that first belonged to the elves. They took the land for themselves and killed many to create the kingdoms that are now under threat. The Nilfgaardians’ war has given the elves an opportunity to strike back for all the pain and suffering they had to endure. This gave rise to a group of rogue elves known as the Scoia’tael.  

The Witcher Saga: Book Two: The Time of Contempt
The Witcher Saga: Book Two: The Time of Contempt

After the kings and queens learned of the evil sorcerer, Rience, who is hunting Ciri they began to question their alliance with the mages. Were they ever trustworthy? Was this time of contempt inevitable? Hence why the kingdoms are now using human messengers to carry their intel by horseback. They do not trust the sorcerers any longer. Chapter one opens with one such messenger, Aplegatt, who sums up the atmosphere nicely: “To put it briefly, war hung in the hot, still air”.  

The Conclave

Located in Thanedd, the sorcerers all convene at a lavish banquet hall immediately following the conclave, the coming together of the supreme sorcerers who rule all the magicians. They discuss political news and ruthlessly gossip. Generally, the witcher would never attend such an event for fear he would be treated as a “freak and a spectacle.” It’s at this event that the mages are attacked by a group of their own conspiring with the Nilfgaardians. The Scoia’taels lay siege on the banquet hall and begin to slaughter everyone in their path. In addition to the attack, we discover the head sorcerer of the conclave, Vilgefortz, is part of the assault on his own people. He gets close to capturing Ciri as she climbs the Tower of Gulls.  Geralt blocks the sorcerer’s way. As a result, he is severely injured.  

Ciri and Her Travels

Ciri has been traveling with the sorcerer that is in love with the witcher, Yennefer. They are traveling to the city Aretuza where the famous school for young enchantresses is located. From time to time, Ciri misses the witcher. She decides to visit him in the nearby town, Hirundum. However, Yennefer is not aware of Ciri’s plans to see the witcher. She doesn’t even know that Ciri has discovered where he is. Ciri gets quite a scare as she chargers her horse towards the witcher. Suddenly she begins to see frightening faceless riders surrounding her. A man known as the King of the Wild Hunt confronts Ciri. He is on a skeleton steed and his “skull-like face” contained “eye sockets burning with a livid flame.” He speaks to Ciri: “O, Child of Elder Blood! You belong to us!…Join our procession, join our hunt!…Your place is among us!”  Before Ciri sneaks out to see the witcher she leaves a note for Yennefer. As a result, she is able to catch up to the girl before the shadows consume her.

The Hunt for Ciri Explained

Geralt is working with a famous law firm and detective agency to try and track down the one who hunts Ciri. In fact, the lawyer Codringher is also a witcher. In addition to trying to find out more about Reince, they are also looking into Ciri’s bloodline. We discover that she has Elder Blood running through her veins and is the descendant of Falka. Falka was the daughter of the king of Redania. She was a leader of a rebellion that killed many in her kingdom. As a result, the town burned her at the stake. While she was burning she cursed them. Falka spoke of an heir that would avenge her: “…from Falka’s blood will be born an avenger who will destroy the old world and build a new one in its ruins.”

What Will Come Next for Ciri?

All in all, things do not look good for Ciri. She is separated from the witcher and Yennefer. And in order to flee the sorcerer, Vilgefortz, she had to travel into the restricted portal within the Tower of Gulls. The portal has been closed off, as it is unstable. Many have tried to travel within the portal to learn more about the ancient ones. Consequently many were killed or never seen again. Will Ciri escape the portal? Even if she does, will she be just another statistic in the growing number of people full of contempt? Finally losing all hope? I guess I better get to reading book three, Baptism of Fire.

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About the author

Katherine Faroh

Katherine is a native Clevelander. She is passionate about writing. She also enjoys nature photography and saving the planet. Superman is her all-time favorite comic book hero.

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