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Time of Contempt
TimeofContempt cover
Publication information
Czas pogardy. SuperNOWA, 1995
Andrzej Sapkowski
Translated by
David French
Gollancz, June 2013 (UK)
Orbit, August 2013 (US)
978-0-575-08508-4 (UK)
978-0-316-21913-6 (US)
Preceded by
Blood of Elves
Followed by
Baptism of Fire
German: Die Zeit der Verachtung. dtv, 2009. Italian: Il Tempo della Guerra. Nord Edizioni, 2013. French: Le Temps du Mépris. Bragelonne, 2009. More...

Time of Contempt (official English translation, literal translation: The Time of Disdain, early title was announced as Times of Anger, original Polish: Czas pogardy), written by Andrzej Sapkowski, first published in Poland by SUPERNOWA in 1995, is the fourth book in the Witcher series and the second novel in the Witcher saga. It directly continues Blood of Elves, which began the saga of Ciri and Geralt.

The English translation of the novel was originally going to be translated by Danusia Stok but was eventually translated by David French. It was expected to be published in the fall of 2010. This release date was missed however saw seen numerous edits. Gollancz, at the time, was criticised for missing the numerous release dates. This in turn pushed Baptism of Fire further back.

Time of Contempt was first released in the UK on the 27th June 2013 (published by Gollancz). A Kindle edition was released simultaneously. In the US, Time Of Contempt was successfully released on the 27th August 2013 (published by Orbit Books). In the UK a second edition of the novel has been announced and is slated for release on the 23rd of January 2014, pushed back by two weeks from its original date of the 9th of the same month.

It is unknown if Gollancz's publishing problems were the same as Orbit's as neither publisher made statements. It is likely the case however as each company was, at the time, hiring the same translator: Danusia Stok, and there had, for a long time, been a rumour regarding the copyright details to do with the original Polish and translation for different publishers of the original Polish editions. 

An audio version of Time Of Contempt was also announced by Gollancz, in conjunction with the Orion publishing group and Audible UK. It was supposed arrive on February 27th, 2014 but was delayed for release until July 3rd, 2014.

Plot summary[ | ]

The story in Time of Contempt begins where Blood of Elves left off, essentially with Ciri and Yennefer having just left the Temple in Ellander, on their way to Gors Velen, and ultimately Thanedd Island. It is Yennefer's intention that Ciri be enrolled at Aretuza and that she continue her instruction in the use and mastery of magic.

Once they arrive in Gors Velen, Yennefer goes to see her old friend Molnar Giancardi, a dwarven banker. The latter informs the sorceress that her financial movements are being tracked, something Yennefer already suspected, but he arranges an essentially unlimited line of credit for her and makes several financial transfers to cover expenses for Ciri's education. He and Yennefer also agree to allow Ciri to see the sights, escorted by one of Molnar's faithful employees, Fabio Sachs.

While on their excursion, things get quickly out of hand and Ciri is mistaken for one of about a dozen students who have recently "escaped" from Aretuza in the kerfuffle leading up to the mages' conference being held there. She is apprehended by no less than the former and current headmistresses of the academy, Tissaia de Vries and Margarita (Rita) Laux-Antille after she uses a magical amulet given to her by Yennefer in case of emergency.

At first, the sorceresses do not believe Ciri's story, but ultimately, the girl and Fabio manage to convince the headmistresses to check out their story at the bank and things are quickly confirmed by Yennefer and Giancardi. The three sorceresses then decide to discuss events over at the Silver Heron, taking Ciri with them and leaving poor Fabio to deal with his employer.

At the inn, Tissaia and Rita have rented the entire cellar which is actually a bath house and the four "ladies" retire there to relax and chat. It seems that both Rita and Tissaia, but especially Rita have every intention of getting good and drunk and Ciri is dispatched to refill their caraff of wine not very long after it arrives.

While getting the refreshments, Ciri notices a mercenary (Rayla) who orders the innkeeper to open a back door for her — a door which leads directly to the outer walls of the city, bypassing the usual gates and guards. On her second trip to refill the caraff, Ciri uses her new found knowledge and runs away to see Geralt whom she has been told is at Hirundum, not far from Gors Velen. Yennefer, luckily is not far behind. Ciri's flight does, however, provide Geralt and Yennefer with an opportunity to meet up again and to patch things in their relationship before the three set off for Thanedd Island together.

On the island, things are in a tizzy. The girls have been temporarily moved from their usual accommodation within Aretuza to Loxia, the lowest level of the complex as the school itself is being used to accommodate the visiting sorcerers and sorceresses. That evening, Yennefer takes Geralt as her date to the reception, leaving Ciri in her room and ensuring that there is no second flight with magic.

At the reception, Geralt meets quite a few interesting individuals, but in particular he meets Vilgefortz for the first time. The mage is considered very young (which of course is anything less than 100 years to mages, but he looks more like 35), he is also considered to be particularly talented, but as Geralt finds out, his road to becoming a mage was not exactly the usual route. The wizard was abandoned as a baby and taken in and raised by druids. It was only as an adult that he became a mage. A point he underlines with some emphasis to the witcher. He even goes so far as to try to encourage Geralt to become a mage himself, but the witcher refuses.

Dijkstra also tries to recruit the witcher to no avail.

After the reception, Yennefer and Geralt retire to their room and re-connect on a more intimate level. After a very fruitful reunion and a bit of sleep, the witcher is awakened by an urge to urinate, but in deference to his hosts, decides against relieving himself in the flower pots outside the window and decides to find the courtyard. This is when he stumbles upon the coup, already taking place.

It is revealed that Vilgefortz and several other mages are in league with Nilfgaard and their plan has been sussed by Philippa Eilhart and Dijkstra who have brought in the Redanian secret service to put a stop to the plan.

In the ensuing confusion we find out that Yennefer had brought Ciri before the Council and that the girl had begun to prophesize. This had brought events to a head, causing Tissaia de Vries to take down the magic-inhibiting barrier around Garstang and allowing Vilgefortz break free of his dimeritium shackles, leading to an all out battle between the various factions. Yennefer grabs Ciri and the two make a run for it, but in the end, Yennefer must send Ciri on alone and try to keep their pursuers at bay. As they part, the sorceress reveals her love for the girl.

During the battle, Geralt is also trying desperately to find both Ciri and Yennefer and get them to safety, but his efforts are thwarted at every turn. He manages to stop one of Ciri's pursuers, the black knight in the winged helmet. Pleading for his life, the knight reveals that he was the one who saved Ciri during the Slaughter of Cintra. Geralt spares him and continues his pursuit of Ciri, who has run off toward Tor Lara. Just as he gets to the tower, he finds his path blocked by Vilgefortz, who once again tries to persuade the witcher to join him.

When Geralt makes it clear that he has no intention of joining the mage and makes his stand by the tower doors, hoping to save Ciri but Vilgefortz proves too powerful and gravely wounds Geralt.

Meanwhile, Ciri reaches the top of the tower and finds the notoriously unstable portal there. Seeing no other option, she jumps in ... only to be ejected rather unceremoniously into the Korath desert.

Waking up rather bruised and thirsty, Ciri tries to find her way home, not really knowing where she is, nor which way to go. She initially goes around in circles before getting her bearings and heading west towards some distant mountains where she hopes to find water and shelter from the burning sun.

Along the way, she meets a young unicorn whom she names "Little Horse" and the two help each other trek across the desert until they reach the dry bed of the Suchak river. During their arduous journey, they are attacked by a venomous sand monster, but manage to kill it; the cost being a wound to the unicorn. Ciri, in desperation to heal Little Horse, realizes that she must use a magical source formerly forbidden to her by Yennefer - fire. Acting suddenly, Ciri draws the magic from the source. She is at once filled with a frightening transfusion of pleasure and pain. Upon reciting the incantation, the unicorn, to its visible astonishment, is healed. Feeling the magical energy rising, Ciri gives in to its power. Her lingering feelings of betrayal, vengeance, and abandonment in the desert culminate in a magically induced vision of her enemies, destroyed and defeated. It continues, and the wrath turns to those she loved. Wounded, bloody, and dying, put to the sword and gallows, she watches helplessly as they are killed; all the while accompanied by a figure among the flames, feeding into her dark feelings and newfound power. Ciri sees flames surrounding her, engulfing all. In terror, she attempts to fight back against the figure, who is tempting her with incomprehensible power. A storm begins, and Ciri slumps to the ground, unconscious.

She awakens to find that she has been "rescued" by a gang known as the Trappers who plan to bring her to Amarillo for a reward. But before they reach Amarillo, the gang stops in the village of Glyswen where they meet another gang, the Nissirs who have their own prisoner, Kayleigh.

While at the inn in Glyswen, the two groups of mercenaries get drunk and reminisce. Kayleigh makes his move and bullies Ciri into helping him escape, promising her that he has friends on the outside who will help them both get away. His plan succeeds and the two ride off with the Rats.

Characters[ | ]

Below is a list of the primary characters appearing in the novel:

Links to publishers[ | ]

Translations[ | ]

  • Flag czech Czech: Zaklínač IV. Čas opovržení, (Leonardo, Ostrava 1996)
  • Flag russia Russian: Час Презрения, (АСТ, 1997)
  • Flag Lithuania Lithuanian: Paniekos metas, (Eridanas, 2006)
  • Flag spain Spanish: Tiempo de Odio, (Alamut, 2008)
  • Flag germany German: Die Zeit der Verachtung, (dtv, 2009)
  • Flag bulgaria Bulgarian: Вещерът: Време на презрение, translated by Vasil Velchev (ИнфоДар, 2009)
  • Flag france French: Le Temps du Mépris, translated by Caroline Raszka-Dewez (Bragelonne, 2009)
  • Flag serbia Serbian: Vreme prezira - Saga o vešcu 4, translated by Milica Markić (Čarobna knjiga, 2012)
  • Flag finland Finnish: Halveksunnan aika, translated by Tapani Kärkkäinen (WSOY, 2012)
  • Flag uk Flag USA English: Time of Contempt, translated by David French (UK – Gollancz, 2013, US – Orbit, 2013)
  • Flag italy Italian: Il Tempo della Guerra, (Nord, 2013)
  • Flag Brazil Brazilian Portuguese: Tempo do Desprezo, translated by Tomasz Barcinski (WMF Martins Fontes, 2014)
  • Flag Japan Japanese: ウィッチャーII 屈辱の刻, translated by Reiko Kawano (川野靖子) (Hayakawa Publishing) (2017/8/24)

Quotes on this wiki[ | ]

Book covers[ | ]