How to read The Witcher books in order

It's not as straightforward as you might think...

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Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix's The Witcher

Since it debuted on Netflix in December, The Witcher has proved a smash hit with audiences – satisfying existing fans of the franchise and winning over many viewers previously unfamiliar with Geralt.

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But with season two filming postponed and new episodes unlikely to drop for quite some time, those who enjoyed the show will be looking to fill a gap.

One way of doing this is by playing the hugely popular games, but why not go one better and go back to the original source material: the book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski?

There are eight books in the series in total – enough reading material to last a while – but one thing that might cause a little confusion is working out how the correct order in which to read them.

Of course, normally it would be reasonable to assume that you should simply read the books in the order they were published, and while that’s broadly true for The Witcher series, there are a couple of notable exceptions.

Most fans would suggest that the place to start is The Last Wish, a short story collection that was published in 1993.

While the Sword of Destiny, another short story collection, was actually published a year before, The Last Wish establishes much of the world and introduces many key characters, and thus works better as a starting point.

Following the two short story collections, it’s probably best to move onto Season of Storms, which is actually the most recent book in the series, having been published in 2013. This is a standalone story, and is set between the short stories in The Last Wish.

From there on, it’s pretty straight-forward – you should read the remaining five books, which form the central Witcher saga, in the order they were published.

What order should I read The Witcher books in?

And so, while there are a few debates amongst hard core fans of the series, the following order is generally agreed upon:

The Last Wish

A collection of short stories preceding the main Witcher Saga, The Last Wish includes seven stories interspersed with a continuing frame story that sees Geralt of Rivia resting in a temple after having been wounded in battle. Each short story is a flashback to recent events that he experiences while recovering.

Buy The Last Wish on Amazon

Sword of Destiny

Another collection of short stories, the tales in Sword of Destiny are loosely linked and each introduces characters that go on to play major roles in the novels. One story, Something More, serves as a direct prequel to the main saga – describing events that such as the fall of the Kingdom of Cintra.

Buy Sword of Destiny on Amazon

Season of Storms

Set between the events of the prequel short story collections and the main saga, Season of Storms follows Geralt of Rivia after a contract has gone wrong, and he finds himself without his signature weapons. He must get them back, with sorcerers scheming and clouds gathering across the world…

Buy Season of Storms on Amazon

Blood of Elves

The first novel in the main saga, as Blood of Elves begins the world is seeing a new spate of wars as different species and races begin fighting after more than 100 years of peace. Meanwhile, Geralt of Rivia, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child, and it becomes his duty to protect everyone – at whatever cost.

Buy Blood of Elves on Amazon

Time of Contempt

Geralt must protect Ciri, the child of prophecy who has the power to change the world for good or evil — but only if she lives to use it. The book sees a coup threaten the Wizard’s Guild while war breaks out across the lands and serious injury leaves Geralt fighting for his life – and if that wasn’t enough stress, Ciri soon goes missing.

Buy Time of Contempt on Amazon

Baptism of Fire

With the Wizards Guild shattered and Geralt seriously injured, the future of magic is under huge threat with just a few surviving wizards able to protect it. Geralt hears that the missing Ciri is now in the Niflgaard court, preparing to marry the Emperor – and so sets out on a rescue mission in spite of his injuries.

Buy Baptism of Fire on Amazon

The Tower of the Swallow

Ciri has taken on the guise of a petty bandit and lives free, but is being hunted down by allies and enemies – with Geralt, the having assembled a group of allies determined to rescue her. As she aims to stay free whilst on the run from the evil Leo Bonhart there is only one place where she can safely head – the tower of the swallow.

Buy The Tower of the Swallow on Amazon

The Lady of the Lake

In the saga’s final chapter, Ciri finds herself in an Elven world after walking through the portal in the tower of the swallow. Trapped and, with seemingly no way out, Ciri refuses to be defeated and attempts to escape and rejoin Geralt – but Leo Bonhart, is still on her trail and war wages on.

Buy The Lady of the Lake on Amazon

Happy reading!

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