The Time of Contempt (The Witcher, 4) - book cover
Short Stories & Anthologies
  • Publisher : Orbit; 1st edition
  • Published : 27 Aug 2013
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 0316219134
  • ISBN-13 : 9780316219136
  • Language : English

The Time of Contempt (The Witcher, 4)

To protect his ward Ciri, Geralt of Rivia sends her to train with the sorceress Yennefer. But all is not well within the Wizard's Guild in the second novel of the Witcher, Andrzej Sapkowski's groundbreaking epic fantasy series that inspired the hit Netflix show and the blockbuster video games.
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.

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 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

James TivendaleMr Sm
I mistook stars reflected in a pond at night for those in the sky." The narrative commences at what seems like a time of contempt indeed. The Kings aren't conversing with the Mages as they have previously, the Nilfgaardian army is still planning for war, and the Scoia'tael (Squirrels) are attacking humans in forests and villages. Many parties are all still looking for the elusive Lion Cub, the child of Destiny, Cirilla. After an interesting and quite tragic point of view chapter following a King's messenger called Aplegatt, where the worrying and uneasy times that the world is currently facing are expressed, we are introduced back to Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer. Geralt is doing typical Witcher work and trying to find out more about the mysterious magician Rience. We are unfamiliar with the mage's motives or who his employer may be but it's clearly known he wants Ciri. Yennefer and Ciri are travelling to Thanedd which is where a conclave of mages and enchantresses is set to take place shortly to discuss these times of contempt and how it affects the magic-wielders of the world. Whilst here, it transpires that Ciri may be left with the enchantresses to study at the female magic school of Aretuza. This is a difficult book to review, not because it is bad but because the book seems to be split into two distinctive styles of telling the story. One of these two styles generally features fan favourites such as Dandelion (although not as much as I would have liked), Geralt, Ciri, Triss, and Yennefer and includes some of the finest and well-crafted scenes that have been created in the series to date. Two of my favourites include a spectacular dual with someone who I'm sure is going to become a huge character in the saga, and also reading into the intrigue, politics, backstabbing, and agendas at the mages 'meet-and-greet' buffet prior to the conclave. A war is brewing and through unfamiliar point of view characters or slightly boring chapters where a member of the ensemble talks to another we are relaid complex political happenings that are occurring in all states across this world. These often include many complex and unfamiliar names of people, places, alliances, etc... It was difficult to keep track of who was supporting who. It also wasn't really obvious that some of the point of views were from the Nilfgaardian perspective until I was halfway through that segment and had to reevaluate what I'd just read. These later sections take up about 25% of the book. Honestly, I just forced myself through them knowing that I wouldn't follow every exact detail but it wasn't enough to truly affect my enjoyment when the scenes with less info dumping were reintroduced a few pages later. There are also a lot of names of mages to remember when the magicians' meeting arrives about forty percent through the story. Of the scenes that aren't inf...
Time of Contempt is second book to the Witcher Saga by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. These books form an ongoing fantasy story, they are not stand alone so if you are new to the series this is not the book to start with. I highly recommend reading them in this order with the two short story collections first which originally written for magazines before starting the saga: 1 - 
The plot starts to ramp up in this book. More action, more political intrigue, more magic. However, there is decisively less witchering. I can see why people are divided on the short stories vs. the novels. The former focuses on Geralt and his profession while war politics are forefront to the latter with Ciri receiving the most screen time. Regardless, I enjoy all of them for their respective offerings so far. While Geralt is unsurprisingly my favorite character, I find myself looking forward to the chapters on Ciri. Her story is fascinating and will clearly remain central for the rest of the series. With the title Baptism of Fire, I expect the next installment to only be grander. Sapkowski has written something special here with his intricate plots, complex characters, and a little bit of social critique. I'm looking forward to the direction Geralt and Ciri take next.
Peter Carrier
Part four of the Witcher and the series shows no signs of slowing down. After a brief lull in the previous book, no doubt thanks in part to the transition from short stories to novel, Sapkowski's tale is back with a bang. More world building, specifically the sorcerers and activities of the various kingdoms, which continue to draw parallels with the modern world. And speaking of the modern world, what Witcher tales would be complete without some moral relativism? None, which is why faithful readers should be pleased to note that those themes are present in this book, as well. From a character perspective, "The Time of Contempt" focuses on Ciri and her changes, though Geralt and Yennefer are also presented with opportunities for growth and change. Sadly, Dandelion plays a small role in this entry. Perhaps he gets more 'page time' in the next book. Fingers crossed more of the troubadour in "Baptism of Fire." And now, some quotes. "You're right: stories. But do you know when stories stop being stories? The moment someone begins to believe in them." - - - - - "Secondly, he didn't want to wipe away with words the taste of her delight, which was still on his lips." - - - - - 'Don't mock me, Witcher. The matter is becoming serious. It's becoming ever less clear what this is all about, and when no one knows what something's about it's sure to be all about money.' - - - - - "The wording on the sign read: 'Codringher and Fenn, legal consultation and services'. But Geralt knew only too well that Codringher and Fenn's trade had little in common with the law, while the partners themselves had a host of reasons to avoid any kind of contact either with the law or its enforcers. He also seriously doubted if any of the clients who showed up in their chambers knew what the word 'consultation' meant." - - - - - 'Geralt,' said Ciri, putting her eye once more to the hole in the wall, 'is standing with his head bowed. And Yennefer's yelling at him. She's screaming and waving her arms. Oh dear... What can it mean?' 'It's childishly simple.' Dandelion stared at the clouds scuddling across the sky. 'Now she's saying sorry to him.'
I purchased and started reading the Witcher novels shortly after beating the Witcher 3 video game, and to be one hundred percent honet, I'm glad that I had unintentionally wait until after I had beaten the game. Granted, I put a TON of hours into that game alone, not to mention it's predecessors, but to sit back and read the original material in which it was based off of - that was wonderful in more ways that I can describe. There were so many references to material from the books in the game themselves, and while I hadn't previously understood them entirely, the books easily cleared everything up about it, explaining them all in great or at least sufficient detail. That said, I'm glad again that I started reading them -after- playing the games because otherwise they wouldn't have held as much significance to me or made me laugh quite as much. Each book is well worth the read on itself for any solid Witcher fan, and as well for any general fiction fan looking for a great series to pick up, even if they don't quite understand the Witcherverse before diving in.

Short Excerpt Teaser

The Time of ContemptBy Andrzej SapkowskiOrbitCopyright © 2013 Andrzej Sapkowski
All rights reserved.