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Baptism of Fire

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Official UK cover

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 and its followed by The Tower of the Swallow.

Motto Edit

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 Edit

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...

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 this 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.

Another background story revolves around the formation of the Lodge of Sorceresses. It turns out that Francesca Findabair managed to capture and confine Yennefer into a figurine following the events at Thanedd Island. It appears that the Lodge is very keen on using Ciri to their advantage in controlling the politics and prioritizing magic, which leads them to indirectly force Yennefer into joining their group. One Nilfgaardian sorceress, Fringilla Vigo, manages to help Yennefer escape from one of the Lodge meetings to rescue Ciri.

Significant plot details end here.

Translations Edit

  • 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)

Book covers Edit

The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski
Short story collections
Wiedźmin (obsolete) • The Last WishSword of DestinyCoś się kończy, coś się zaczyna (Something Ends, Something Begins)
Novels
Blood of ElvesTime of ContemptBaptism of FireThe Tower of the SwallowLady of the Lake
Video games
The WitcherThe Witcher 2: Assassins of KingsThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Hearts of StoneBlood and Wine)
Other games
Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni (PnP RPG) • The Witcher: Adventure Game (board game) • The Witcher Battle Arena (MOBA) • The Witcher: Role-Playing Game (PnP RPG, upcoming) • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (card game, upcoming)
Other adaptations
Wiedźmin (comics) • The Hexer (movie & TV series) • Tales from the world of The Witcher (anthology)

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