Baptism Of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski is the third book in the Witcher saga published in 1996 and translated to English in 2014 by Gollancz Ltd.
Synopsis: Baptism Of Fire follows the quest of the monster-slaying Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, in his quest to save Ciri from the clutches of the Nilfgaardians. The novel begins following on from Geralt’s escape to the elvish lands of Brokilon, sustaining severe injuries from the battle on the Isle of Thanedd, where the Conclave of Mages turned into a vicious bloodbath.
Now accompanied by a new set of comrades and the lovable troubadour, Dandelion, our hero is transfixed on his mission of journeying south to Nilfgaard to rescue his charge, Ciri, the prophetic child of the elder blood.
Baptism Of Fire has to be my favourite Witcher book yet and it certainly redeemed its predecessor, Time Of Contempt by miles, the latter becoming a lot more frenetic in its execution of the plot as the story progressed.
Though I much preferred Baptism Of Fire to the other Witcher books, it still possesses Sapkowski’s stamp of striking, quirky characters, rawness of tone and the cunning politics of which the Witcher forever desires to remain neutral. The story does veer off into different arcs, but overall everything seemed a lot more cohesive than in previous novels.
We are introduced to several new characters in this story such as Maria ‘Milva’ the elvish archer from Brokilon and Zoltan Chivay, the obscene dwarf. I loved the development of these characters and how they complemented the story as an incongruous band of travelling companions. It almost felt reminiscent of the travelling Fellowship of the Ring and gave the story moments of comic relief, that made me even more invested in their characters.
There were unfortunately, moments that felt very pedantic, such as the part concerning the the elder blood gene. However, there was so much in this story to compensate for that injury to the plot, such as the memorable characterisation and poetic symbolism. And for that reason, I rate Baptism Of Fire.. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
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