Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, 2) - book cover
Short Stories & Anthologies
  • Publisher : Orbit; Later Printing edition
  • Published : 01 Dec 2015
  • Pages : 400
  • ISBN-10 : 0316389706
  • ISBN-13 : 9780316389709
  • Language : English

Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, 2)

Geralt the Witcher battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike in Sword of Destiny, the second collection of adventures in Andrzej Sapkowski's groundbreaking epic fantasy series that inspired the Netflix show and the hit video games.
Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless hunter. Yet he is no ordinary killer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.
Sword of Destiny is the follow up to The Last Wish, and together they are the perfect introduction to a one of a kind fantasy world.

Witcher collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny

Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire 
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake
Season of Storms

Hussite Trilogy
The Tower of Fools
Warriors of God

Translated from original Polish by David French

Editorial Reviews

"This is a series you can sink your teeth into."―BuzzFeed News

"Delightful, intense, irreverent, and compelling....you have to read The Witcher books because they are rife with all of the elements that make you love fiction, and especially fantasy, in the first place....In a word, The Witcher delivers."―Hypable

"One of the best and most interesting fantasy series I've ever read."―Nerds of a Feather

"Like Mieville and Gaiman, [Sapkowski] takes the old and makes it new ... fresh take on genre fantasy."―Foundation

"Sapkowski has a confident and rich voice which permeates the prose and remains post-translation. I'd recommend this to any fan of heroic or dark fiction."―SF Book Reviews

Readers Top Reviews

RossGeorge T.Mr Smit
This is a largely well-written set of Witcher short stories, which start to piece together some of the stories in the Last Wish with the main books (which I have yet to read!). While this time there is no over-arching story linking them together this is to the book's credit. I got annoyed with the Last Wish/Season of Storms's clumsy attempt to sew together a number of different stories - like those old episodes of a sitcom that was just a hashing together of different flashbacks. Though it does mean you could struggle with the chronology, but I think assuming the stories are after the Season of Storms is a safe bet. All of the stories are reasonably exciting, but Sapkowski does have a tendency to start these stories with the Witcher's triumph over another creature, and focus on the aftermath - sometimes you long for the thrill of the preceding hunt. The final story, which I feel is the main link into the first book, includes a number of sections where the Witcher is hallucinating. The segue between these isn't always clear, and while this adds to the atmosphere and feel of the Witcher being drugged, it does leave you a little confused at times (though this passes briefly). A good set of stories and a decent translation with few clunky parts. I would recommend these are read after the main books (i.e. in published order) - while I haven't read those, I have probably taken some characters/stories for granted and not appreciated how they feed in to the overall canon of Witcher works (without googling for spoilers).
Justyna Tenel
My enjoyment of this book which I originally read in Polish in the 90s, is only marred by sometimes clunky translation. I must say that 'The Last Wish' was done much better. Some phrases are clunky, some difficult to understand the original meaning of, some are clear copies of certain Polish expressions without looking for better alternatives in English, some due to sloppy editing are a bit illogical or grammatically incorrect. Also there should be reference section/ sections- for stuff (cultural or language related) clear as day to Polish person, but alien to non-Poles reading. As this time I was reading the book, at roughly the same pace as my British friend, I found myself explaining a lot of context, which should have been made clear, to those willing to understand. Surely this could be fixed for next editions, right lovely publishers/translators? All in all, still an amazing book, all of the above notwithstanding, but some editing/ additional information would make it even better.
James Tivendale
Much like The Last Wish before, Sword of Destiny is a collection of short stories following a talented witcher called Geralt of Rivia. Although you can start the series with Blood of Elves which is where the full-length novels commence, I can't recommend enough that even though a handful of these short stories are hit-and-miss, that they will add considerable depth to the future narrative arcs. The Last Wish featured mostly isolated stories with the Witcher tackling a certain monstrosity for a set payment. He travels around the world to where his peculiar killing and magic techniques are needed to tackle a problem and individuals will hire him. In the first book, apart from a couple of brief interludes, there were no recurring characters. It was solely about a certain adventure at one end of the world and then another a thousand miles away. Sword of Destiny features a handful of main characters from the series who become more fleshed out as there presence recurs. Geralt's friend and lady loving bard Dandelion, his mysterious sorceress love interest Yennefer and a potential child of destiny called Ciri. If you've played The Witcher computer games I imagine you a familiar with these characters, the sort of missions set and the monsters the Witcher is assigned to eradicate, and how beautiful and vast this created world is. I found the stories in The Last Wish more consistent but two or three of my favourites are from this entry. If you decide to read the short story collections first I'd truly recommend starting with The Last Wish and not Sword of Destiny. Two stories in The Witcher #1, one including Yennefer and one including a Queen and a Princess, add huge depth to the action and events that occur in this collection, especially with certain relationship complexities. The Witcher tales are exciting and addictive to say that a story can be finished within about half an hour. Sapkowski doesn't dumb down the world and there are a plethora of complex characters and demons throughout these pages. My favourite story is here is The Bounds of Reason and it features about twenty-five different well-crafted characters who set off on a mission to kill a wounded dragon. I found this narrative exceptional, unpredictable, thrilling with a hell of a twist at the end. This sets Sword of Destiny up brilliantly. This constructed world does feature typical fantasy tropes but nothing feels forced. It all feels enticing and original. I'm not looking forward to seeing more of the Elves in the next book! I won't go into the details of the stories too much as it might approach spoiler territory. I will confirm that these tales feature many fantasy races as well as mermaids and underwater warriors, showdowns with sorcerers, a group trying to trace a doppleganger, and also meeting Ciri. It features monster hunting of course but not as much and ...
Andrew Jeffreys
After a very long wait (seven years), we finally have the official English translation of the second set of short stories about Geralt of Rivia. Why the publisher waited so long to translate this collection is beyond me, as The Sword of Destiny introduces some very important characters to the next book: Blood of Elves. However, that's a discussion for another day. The Sword of Destiny is similar to its prequel collection, The Last Wish. It's a series of short stories about Geralt, one of the last Witchers (a guild of monster hunters), and his many adventures. Unlike the The Last Wish, all the stories are in a fairly linear order and deal mostly with the topic of destiny. They also build on Geralt's relationships and what it means to be human. Whereas The Last Wish dealt more with philosophy that is grounded in real life, The Sword of Destiny concerns itself it the philosophy of destiny and is more rooted in a traditional fantasy story. For a while, I thought the story would take a clichéd approach to destiny, but was pleasantly surprised by how the author chose to tackle it. This book is an excellent read if you enjoy medieval fantasy and a must-read if you're a fan of the Witcher series.
"Not this war, Geralt. After this war, no-one returns. There will be nothing to return to. Nilfgaard leaves behind it only rubble; its armies advance like lava from which no-one escapes. The roads are strewn, for miles, with gallows and pyres; the sky is cut with columns of smoke as long as the horizon. Since the beginning of the world, in fact, nothing of this sort has happened before. Since the world is our world... You must understand that the Nilfgaardians have descended from their mountains to destroy this world." The Sword of Destiny is the sequel to the Witcher's first collection, The Last Wish, picking up where the previous book left off. The continuity is surprisingly fluid with the stories being surprisingly interlinked and best read in the order that they are published. The Sword of Destiny is also absolutely essential to understanding the later novels in the series, which is unusual when dealing with short stories. The Sword of Destiny is also surprising in that it contains some of the lightest and darkest of the Witcher universe slammed together in one volume. There's stories which include silly stories about Medieval stock market manipulation and a retelling of The Little Mermaid alongside tales of genocide as well as forced relocation of native peoples. This is a really impressive display of the variety of Andrzej Sapkowski's work. I'm particularly fascinated by the character development of Geralt, new character Ciri of Cintra, and the Nilfgaardian Empire. Geralt gets expanded from The Man With No Name with swords, basically, to a man who is deeply suffering for his inability to find love. Ciri of Cintra is one of the rare non-annoying children in fiction, rivaling Newt from Aliens for how much I like her. The Nilfgaardian Empire? Well, they are an embodiment of evil who don't get much screen-time but manage to be both believable and terrifying at once. I started the review with the quote about them because, truly, it gave me chills. The supporting cast in the book is particularly strong this time around as well. The tragic but wonderful character of Essi Daven, the snobbish but enjoyable Istredd, the self-confident but heartbroken Yennefer, the imperious Calanthe, and (of course) Dandelion are all characters who fly off the page despite their little screen-time. I'll go into more detail but, really, I should address each of the stories individually. "Limit of Possibility" This is a deconstruction of the dragon-slaying epics which we all know, even if we've never seen them outside of The Hobbit. Geralt of Rivia is the one professional monster slayer in the surrounding kingdoms who isn't interested in killing a dragon when a prince puts up a fabulous reward for slaying one. This attracts a holy knight, a wizard more interested in saving one than killing one, a would-be peasant he...