Overview (No Spoilers):
I feel like I’ve been lost in a time warp as almost two years have elapsed since I have last picked up Sapkowski’s Baptism of Fire. In the meantime, this series had somehow totally fallen off of my TBR lists. It was only upon seeing a promo for the next season of Netflix’s The Witcher that I’d remembered I’m still two novels short of finishing the series. Eager to jump back into a literary world I’ve so enjoyed, I rushed to pick up The Tower of Swallows to find out what Sapkowski has in store for Ciri and Geralt.
With the extended time gap between books there was some acclimating required, but that said the formatting of the story time exponentially aided in my confusion. The story starts off with a large time jump, with the majority of this book spent slowly filling in the missing time. For example, Ciri is dealt a massive wound, but it is only through her often interrupted recounting of the events leading up to the brutal clash that we learn how she obtains her grievous wound.
This pattern of slow reveals is not only applied to Ciri but also to Yennefer’s fate as Triss Merigold desperately searches for her friend. The closer Triss seems to finding Yennefer, sees her simultaneously growing disenchanted with the side she has aligned. Through her searches we are reintroduced to Crach an Craite, a Jarl who not only gives insight on the missing sorceress but also on the fate of Ciri’s parents based on the legends of his land.
We are introduced to several new characters, such as the kind old scholar, Vysogota, who is much more than the isolated hermit he appears to be, instead has his own heartbreaking backstory that is teased out over the course of The Tower of Swallows.
Much of this novel is spent with Sapkowski maneuvering pawns into position for the final installment of his series, such that Dijkstra seeks aid from Kovir to rebuild his army. Additionally, the course of the story revolves around the seemingly undefeatable bounty hunter Leo Bonhart as he seeks out Rats and finds a prize far greater in the process. The steps Bonhart takes throughout this novel set the stage for a brilliantly choreographed ambush on an icy lake shrouded in fog that one could palpably feel the terror of the evil men targeted.
Overall, The Tower of Swallows is in no way a fun read, but it deliberately positions Ceri, Geralt, and Yennefer for the conclusion of this series. Once back into this literary world, Sapkowski’s writing mannerisms feel nostalgic and one can’t help but be caught up in the mystery of how Ciri has ended up in such a sorry state.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What will Ciri find in the Tower of Swallows?
- Can Yennefer be saved from Vilgefortz?
- I feel like there has to be more to Bonhart with how skilled he is at avoiding death.
- Why is Geralt so nonchalant about losing his medallion? It provides crucial protection for him against magic.
- Geralt’s story was rather boring as he got caught up in petty fighting with Cahir and spent aimless chapters pursuing Druids.
- Again I find myself not super excited to pick up the next book in the series, though I’m sure I will soon.