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Baptism of Fire
Baptism Of Fire
Publication information
Chrzest Ognia. SuperNOWA, 1996
Andrzej Sapkowski
Translated by
David French
Gollancz, March 06, 2014 (UK)
Orbit, June 24, 2014 (US)
978-0-575-09096-5 (UK)
978-0-575-09097-2 (US)
Preceded by
Time of Contempt
Followed by
The Tower of the Swallow
German: Feuertaufe. dtv, 2009. French: Le Baptême du Feu. Bragelonne, 2009. Italian: Il Battesimo del Fuoco. Nord, 2014. More...

Baptism of Fire (Polish: Chrzest Ognia), written by Andrzej Sapkowski, first published in Poland in 1996, is the fifth book in the Witcher series and the third novel in the Witcher saga, thus continuing the saga of Geralt and Ciri directly onwards from the end of Time of Contempt. The book was published in English in 2014, translated by David French.

Motto[ | ]

The motto of the book is a quote from the Dire Straits song Brothers in Arms:

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

The motto was, for some unknown reason, omitted from some translations of the book, including the English and French translation.

Brief synopsis[ | ]

Geralt recovers in Brokilon forest after the Thanedd incident, but he is intent on leaving as quickly as possible and continuing on his path to find Ciri. In Brokilon, he meets a young woman who will follow him on his journey towards Nilfgaard. Meanwhile, Ciri has settled into a life with some people elsewhere whom she finally can call her friends. The witcher, accompanied by Dandelion and the young woman he meets in Brokilon, undertake a dangerous journey, meeting new people along the way and discovering the truth about the mysterious Black Rider who has been plaguing Ciri's dreams. One of the new friends they make along the way turns out to be rather interesting...

Spoiler warning: Significant plot details follow.

While recovering in Brokilon from his injuries sustained during the Thanedd coup, Geralt meets Milva, a hunter and expert archer. Her mastery of the bow is unequalled. Despite not particularly liking the convalescing witcher, she decides to follow Geralt, who is accompanied by Dandelion, on his way towards Nilfgaard and hopefully, Ciri. The journey is not easy, the war is encroaching seemingly from all directions and nearly every city is ablaze.

Along their journey they meet a group of dwarves led by one Zoltan Chivay. As it seems they are all going in the same direction, Geralt's party joins the group who are also shepherding some refugee women and children.

At several points in their journey, Geralt and his companions come across Cahir, the erstwhile "Black Rider" that plagued Ciri's dreams. Initially, the knight is being transported as a prisoner — in a coffin no less! — by some hawkers, when Geralt spares his life for the second time. However, the witcher wants nothing to do with the young Nilfgaardian and leaves him to his own devices, Cahir is ever persistent and continues to shadow the witcher and his entourage. Eventually, through Milva's intervention, the young knight comes to join the group.

Finally, the troupe is joined by Regis, a vampire, some might say "monster", who rather surprisingly becomes the monster hunter's good friend. Regis proves invaluable for his medical skills.

As the group travels east, they are inevitably caught between the warring factions which leads them into the thick of the Battle for the Bridge on the Yaruga where the group is pivotal in queen Meve's victory. It is shortly after his battle that Geralt is knighted by the queen and officially becomes "Geralt of Rivia".

Meanwhile, Ciri has settled into life with a party of young rebels who call themselves the "Rats" and has become known as "Falka". With the Rats, she experiences killing on quite a regular basis, but also forms a strong bond with Mistle. Killing ultimately becomes an obsession for the former princess.

Significant plot details end here.

English edition[ | ]

Although Gollancz never made an official announcement, they filed for Baptism of Fire to be released in the United Kingdom in 2014 - amazingly they filed for two dates ((the first at the 20th of March & the second on the 1st of July) hinting at when both the first and second edition might arrive in the UK) and retailers got pre-order systems up and running: March 20 [1] & July 1st.[2] However, as it turns out, the July date is the intended date for the US release by Orbit books, on licensed contract from Gollancz.

Like Gollancz, the US publisher - Orbit Books - did not yet made an official announcement as to precisely when the novel will be released in America, but they have included it in their spring/summer releases of 2014, and in that it is expected to be released in July.

As of early September Orion Books, the parent company of Gollancz posted that the release date for the UK would actually be the 27th of February, not the 20th of March - Gollancz have since updated their release, as have Amazon and as have most internal book stores. Also, as of October 2013, the Orion publishing group have confirmed that the e-book will be released the UK first edition. The first chapter of Baptism Of Fire will be released in November as promotional material in an upcoming sampler of Andrzej Sapkowski's work 'The Malady & other stories'.

Amazon have also been given what could potentially be the blurb:

"The Wizards Guild has been shattered by a coup and, in the uproar, Geralt was seriously injured. The Witcher is supposed to be a guardian of the innocent, a protector of those in need, a defender against powerful and dangerous monsters that prey on men in dark times. But now that dark times have fallen upon the world, Geralt is helpless until he has recovered from his injuries. While war rages across all of the lands, the future of magic is under threat and those sorcerers who survive are determined to protect it. It's an impossible situation in which to find one girl - Ciri, the heiress to the throne of Cintra, has vanished - until a rumour places her in the Nilfgaard court, preparing to marry the Emperor. Injured or not, Geralt has a rescue mission on his hands. This is the third of the Witcher novels by Andrzej Sapkowski"

Yet again however, in February 2014, Orion Books released that the novel will in fact be released one week later - on the sixth of march. An audio version of The Last Wish was announced by Gollancz alongside this and will arrive on 6 March 2014, read by Peter Kenny.

The cover art, for the UK, has been confirmed as Alejandro Colucci's take on Milva Barring. The same image was originally used for Alamut's Spanish translation - for which Alejandro Colucci was the artist.

In the US, cover art has been confirmed as an adapted take of the most recent French edition of the novel. The credits for the American edition include illustration by Bartłomiej Gaweł, Paweł Mielniczuk, Marcin Błaszczak, Arkadiusz Matyszewski, Marian Chomiak and the design by Lauren Panepinto.

Other appearing characters[ | ]

Translations[ | ]

  • Flag bulgaria Bulgarian: Вещерът: Огнено кръщение, translated by Vasil Velchev (ИнфоДар, 2010)
  • Flag czech Czech: Zaklínač V. - Křest ohněm, (Leonardo, Ostrava 1997)
  • Flag uk Flag USA English: Baptism of Fire, translated by David French (UK – Gollancz, 2014, US – Orbit, 2014)
  • Flag finland Finnish: Tulikaste, translated by Tapani Kärkkäinen (WSOY, 2014)
  • Flag france French: Le Baptême du Feu, translated by Caroline Raszka-Dewez (Bragelonne, 2010)
  • Flag germany German: Feuertaufe, translated by Erik Simon (dtv, 2009)
  • Flag italy Italian: Il battesimo del fuoco, translated by Raffaella Belletti (Nord, 2014)
  • Flag Lithuania Lithuanian: Krikštas ugnimi, (Eridanas, 2006)
  • Flag russia Russian: Крещение огнём, (АСТ, 1997)
  • Flag serbia Serbian: Vatreno krštenje - Saga o vešcu 5, translated by Milica Markić (Čarobna knjiga, 2012)
  • Flag spain Spanish: Bautismo de fuego, (Alamut, 2010)
  • Flag Japan Japanese: ウィッチャーIII 炎の洗礼, translated by Reiko Kawano (川野靖子) (Hayakawa Publishing) (2018/5/17)

References[ | ]

Covers of different editions[ | ]