The Witcher books are complex story-telling pieces which have heavy influences surrounding the economic and ethnic strife of the Baltic states during the 70s, 80s and 90s. Each book tells a different story, even where the story continues from the last, due to Sapkowski’s innate ability to reframe a scene.
The books have seen a huge resurgence in interest since the Netflix series launched, and have even been mentioned on gaming sites across the globe.
Without further ado, here is The Witcher books in order of reading if you need to scratch that itch left over by binging the wonderful Henry Cavill in Netflix’s The Witcher, which is based on the book series and game series of the same name.
1. The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher (The Witcher 1)
Introducing us to the character of Geralt, The Last Wish is the perfect first-step into the world of the Witcher. It tells of a man who has magical powers long-enhanced by training and mysterious potions. It shows how these things have made him a magnificent fighter, and ruthless bounty hunter of the most dangerous game, monsters and fiends.
While this first book sets the stage perfectly by showing ‘good VS evil’, it also shows that not everything that is beautiful is good, and not everything that is evil is hideous. By subverting these tropes and expectations, Sapkowski shows that he is not just another ‘Tolkien’ impersonator, and has his own world to show and explore.
2. Sword Of Destiny (The Witcher 2)
The second installment in the main series, The Witcher 2 comes directly after The Witcher 1 and is a collection of short-form stories akin to the first book of Geralt’s adventures and misadventures throughout The Witcher world.
“A Little Sacrifice” and “Eternal Flame” are stand-outs here as they went on to become Netflix episodes for The Witcher series (episodes 8 and 7)
3. Blood Of Elves (The Witcher 3)
This book tells the story of Geralt becoming caretaker to surviving heiress of bloodied revolution and prophesied savior of the realm, Ciri. This prophecy is explored further in The Last Wish. For centuries, many species have lived harmoniously until now.
The peace shatters and fighting erupts amongst the races. Elves become public enemy number 1 and everyone agrees, elves are not friends, but foes.
The Witcher – Geralt – has been patiently waiting for the birth of the prophecy child, the only question remains, will she be good or evil?
4. The Time Of Contempt (The Witcher 4)
Continuing his crusade of protecting Ciri, Geralt decides to allow her to train herself as he did, with his friend, sorceress Yennifer of Vengerburg.
The future of the wizard’s guild lies in anticipation as questions hang in the air for the continuation of such an institution.
5. Baptism Of Fire (The Witcher 5)
The Wizards Guild bonds of trust and secrecy are broken. Geralt lies gravely wounded and dark times have befallen the realm. War ravages the lands across the world, magic is held in suspicion and Ciri is missing, taken by the emperor and facing the prospect of being forced to marry into Nilfgaard court.
Can the once-great and now gravely injured Geralt of Rivia rescue his ward and salvage the bonds of love through the realm which now seem like a distant and irredeemable memory?
6. The Tower of Swallows (The Witcher 6)
War, the savior missing and time is running out. The army is hunting Geralt and alliances centuries old are now crumbling.
Geralt assembles a group of allies and friends from all sides to aid in the search-and-rescue mission which may destroy him once and for all as he embarks on a journey many do not return from, the tower of swallows awaits…
7. The Lady of the Lake (The Witcher 7)
Elves have taken over, Geralt lost, Ciri must now search all of her resolve to return to her own time and continue the fight. Ciri, upon escaping death in the Tower of Swallows is now lost in a time not her own. Linearity does not exist and portals are nowhere to be found.
Leo Bonhart, the man in her pursuit, is one-step away from her at every turn and to return to her own time and her world at war, she must conquer all she fears…
8. Season of Storms (The Witcher 8)
A stand-alone adventure which sees Geralt before he became Ciris’ guardian, as he finds himself without arms, without allies and without hope.
The season of storms is coming, sorcerers are plotting and the world is descending into darkness…