The Time of Contempt is the second novel in Andrzej Sapkowski’s “Witcher” series, following the events of Blood of Elves. The novel follows the witcher, Geralt of Rivia, as he navigates the political landscape of the continent and deals with the growing threat of the Nilfgaardian Empire.
If you’re like us and binged the Netflix show in one weekend and put countless hours into The Witcher video game, then the only next step is to take a look at the epic novels that inspired not one, but two different media adaptations!
This is the second novel in the series, so make sure you’ve checked out The Blood of Elves first! Otherwise, let’s take a look at another stop in this epic fantasy ride.
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The Time of Contempt
Geralt is a Witcher: guardian of the innocent; protector of those in need; a defender in dark times against some of the most frightening creatures of myth and legend.
His task now is to protect Ciri. A child of prophecy, she will have the power to change the world for good or for ill—but only if she lives to use it.
“But do you know when stories stop being stories? The moment someone begins to believe in them.”Andrzej Sapkowski, The Time of Contempt
In The Time of Contempt, witcher Geralt of Rivia is embroiled in the politics of the Northern Kingdoms as the powerful Nilfgaardian Empire invades the continent. As the kingdoms scramble to form alliances and prepare for war, Geralt finds himself caught in the middle, with old friends and enemies pulling him in different directions.
Geralt is initially summoned by King Foltest of Temeria to help deal with a rebellion led by his own illegitimate son. However, the rebellion is quickly quashed by the Nilfgaardian army, and the kingdom is occupied. Foltest, who was injured in the fighting, is held prisoner in Nilfgaard, while Temeria is left leaderless and under the control of the empire.
Meanwhile, Geralt’s adopted daughter, Ciri, is being trained by the sorceress Yennefer to harness her magical powers. However, Ciri’s destiny is tied to the fate of the continent, and both Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms see her as a valuable asset in the upcoming war. As Geralt races to protect Ciri, he must also confront his own past and the consequences of his actions in the previous novel.
As the political situation in the Northern Kingdoms becomes increasingly dire, Geralt and his friends must make difficult choices and confront the harsh realities of war and power. Ultimately, the novel ends on a cliffhanger. We won’t go into details (this is a spoiler-free zone, people!).
One of the strongest aspects of the novel is its exploration of the blurred lines between good and evil. It’s one of the things author Sapkowski does especially well. There is a huge amount of moral ambiguity in the main characters. The characters in the book are not simply black and white, but instead are complex individuals with their own motivations and beliefs. Geralt, the witcher protagonist, is a perfect example of this complexity, as he struggles with his own past actions and tries to navigate the political landscape of the continent. We found some aspects of Geralt more likeable than others, and it’s hard to 100% back him without addressing first some of the bad things he has done, making a complex read.
The plot of the novel is especially well-crafted, with a number of twists and turns that kept us on our toes. The pacing is well-balanced, with plenty of action and tension, but also moments of quiet contemplation. The book also does a great job of building upon the events of the first novel and setting the stage for the events to come in the series.
One of the highlights of the book is the relationship between Geralt and Ciri, his adopted daughter. The bond between the two of them is a central theme of the novel and is portrayed with a great deal of nuance and depth. It warms our heart to see a male main protagonist with such a close relationship with his daughter. It’s been a popular motif from the 2010’s, and only seems to be gaining reactions. Think The Last of Us, or The Walking Dead Game. Only this novel was ahead of the times for this theme by about 20 years!
Our rating: ★★★★★
Check it out on Netflix
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the plot of The Time of Contempt?
The plot of “The Time of Contempt” follows witcher Geralt of Rivia as he is pulled into the political machinations of the Northern Kingdoms. As the powerful Nilfgaardian Empire invades the continent. He must protect his adopted daughter Ciri, whose destiny is tied to the fate of the continent, and both Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms see her as a valuable asset in the upcoming war.
What happens to Ciri in Time of Contempt?
In Time Of Contempt Ciri escapes via a portal in Tor Lara, also known as the Gulls’ Tower, during Geralt’s fight with Vilgefortz. She awakens in Korath desert known to many as the ‘frying pan’ and barely manages to stay alive, thanks to the help of a unicorn, whom she names “Little Horse”.
How many Witcher books are there?
There are a total of 9 books in the Witcher series, which include 3 short story collections, 5 main novels and a standalone novel.
- The Witcher (1990)
- Sword of Destiny (1992)
- The Last Wish (1993)
- Blood of Elves (1994)
- Time of Contempt (1995)
- Baptism of Fire (1996)
- The Tower of the Swallow (1997)
- The Lady of the Lake (1999)
- Season of Storms (2013)
How long is Time of Contempt?
Time of Contempt is around 350 pages, depending on the publication. The audiobook is just under 12 hours.