Book two of the Witcher series is The Time of Contempt by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. It was first released in 1995 and translated in English in 2013. This is the book where the fighting starts so get ready to read a lot.
Throughout the first couple of books, we see the good guys do the smart thing. They know what is a bad idea and steer away from it. Here, however we see the main characters mess up big time. Nilfgaard is still hunting for Ciri but also preparing for war. The kingdoms know that a war will break out and are waiting for the right moment to strike. Allegiances are being tested and the stage is being set.
Ciri is traveling with Yennefer and is reunited with the Witcher. There is a council meeting of sorcerers and sorceresses and Yennifer heads there with Geralt. The mages are there to discuss something very important and determine the course fate is supposed to go but not everyone is in agreement.
I really enjoyed this novel and have to say it was my favorite so far. The book picks up at a good paxe after starting off a bit slow. Sapkowski uses interesting narrators and makes it work. He is an excellent story teller and makes it hard to put the book down.
There are a lot of themes floating around and the one I want to discuss is the one he mentions a lot in his previous novels; neutrality. Geralt of Rivia wants to remain neutral in all the wars. He doesn’t want to be anyone’s pawn and doesn’t want to spill any unnecessary blood. We see how his worldview comes crashing down when the world around him goes to war and how his inaction let it happen.
If you have been reading the Witcher books, then this is the reward book. We were promised a war and Sapkowski delivers on his promise. I highly recommend reading this book because it showcases how good fantasy books can be when set up properly.