There are few book series in the fantasy genre that have built up such a devoted following over the past decade as The Witcher, by author Andrzej Sapkowski. With three books, five short story collections, and a fifth books set to be released in 2021, there are plenty of stories to keep any fan engrossed for days.
The question for many, however, is how to read all these books in their correct chronological order. This guide will provide readers with a detailed look at all of the books in The Witcher series, to help new and existing fans follow the full narrative arc in the correct order.
The Witcher Timeline
Before delving into the correct order for reading The Witcher books, it helps to understand the timeline in which the series is set. It begins in the medieval fantasy world of the “Continent”, with the first story starting just before the Conjunction of the Spheres. This event marks a critical moment when the magic-filled universe of the Elves was joined with the human world, and changed the world of the Continent forever.
Main Witcher Book Series
The main Witcher book series consists of three books; The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny, and Blood of Elves. These must be read first by any fan that is looking to get a full understanding of the world and characters in The Witcher.
- The Last Wish
The Last Wish is the first collection of short stories in the series, and introduces readers to the world of the Continent and the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia. These stories were first published in 1993 and were set before the event of the Conjunction of the Spheres.
- Sword of Destiny
Written in 1992 and published in 1995, Sword of Destiny is the second book in The Witcher series. This book also consists of several short stories and is set after the Conjunction of the Spheres. It expands on the world of the Continent and introduces many of the key characters in the series.
- Blood of Elves
Published in 1994, Blood of Elves is the first full-length novel in the series. The story is set 30 years after the event of the Conjunction of the Spheres, making it the latest story chronologically so far.
This novel follows the story of Cirilla, a young girl known as “Ciri”, who is destined to play a central part in the future of the Continent. It also explores the ongoing conflict between the Nilfgaardian empire and the Northern Kingdoms, and the important role of Geralt.
Short Story Collections
Once the three books in the main series have been read, The Witcher fans can then dive into the five short story collections that round out the full saga.
- Time of Contempt
The fourth book in the series, Time of Contempt (published in the UK as Baptism of Fire in 1996), consists of seven short stories. As with the previous books, the narrative revolves around Geralt and his adventures on the Continent. The stories take place some time after the events in Blood of Elves, and provide readers with a greater understanding of the politics of the world.
- The Tower of Swallows
Published in 1997 in the UK as Lady Of The Lake, The Tower of Swallows is the fifth book in The Witcher universe. The narrative takes place after the events of Time of Contempt, and Geralt is sent to find Ciri. During his journey, Geralt is pulled into a power struggle between the elven families of the Northern Kingdoms.
- The Lady of the Lake
The next book in the series is The Lady of the Lake (produced in the UK as Season Of Storms), and was published in 1999. The narrative picks up directly after the Tower of Swallows, and reveals the consequences of Geralt’s decisions. It also introduces new characters to the narrative in the form of Ihuarraquax and Zireael.
- Baptism of Fire
Written in 1992 and published in 1995, Baptism of Fire is the seventh book in the Witcher series. The narrative follows Geralt on the hunt for Ciri, as he traverses all the kingdoms of the Northern Realms. This book also introduces readers to the titular “Baptism of Fire”, a magical fire-ritual performed by the Elder Mages.
- The Season of Storms
The last book in the Witcher saga to be released thus far is The Season of Storms in 2013 (published as The Bounds of Reason in the US). The narrative picks up directly after the events of Baptism of Fire, and introduces several new characters, such as the Kaelall prince and the mage Regis.
The Witcher book series provides readers with a rich and vibrant world full of characters, conflict, and magic. As with any expansive universe, however, it can be difficult to understand how to read all the books in their correct chronological order.
By following this comprehensive guide, fans of The Witcher saga should have no trouble delving into the stories and understanding the full narrative arc.