Literature: Baptism of Fire

The fifth book in The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, originally in Polish (original title: Chrzest ognia).

While Geralt recuperates from the injuries he sustained at Thanedd, the Nilfgaard Empire conquers half of the Northern lands and scares the rest into submission. As soon as he can, he goes out searching for the disappeared Ciri and is joined by a pregnant archer girl Milva, Dandelion the Spoony Bard, Cahir the Nilfgaardian knight who saved Ciri in Cintra, and a Vegetarian Vampire scholar and healer named Regis. Along the way, they are accompanied by dwarf Zoltan Chivay and his gang. Yennefer is nowhere to be seen; as such, she is presumed to be one of the ringleaders of the Thanedd coup. The truth, however, is more complicated, being related to the machinations of a freshly started sorcerous secret society. Meanwhile, stranded in unfamiliar land, Ciri unexpectedly finds love and family within a gang of teenage highwaymen, Rats.

Tropes found in the book:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: in description of Geralt's actions during the Thanedd coup. In loose transcription:
    "He [Geralt] killed a dozen Squirrels, slaughtered Artaud Terranova and caused unhealthy arousal of Keira Metz."
    • To avoind confusion for those unfamiliar with the saga: Squirrel is a term for dwarf/elven terrorists.
  • Blind Jump: a magical variety, involving teleportation to the place of origin of a random item.
  • Burn the Witch!: the party stumbles upon a very burn-happy cleric just about to burn a woman for witchcraft.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: from this book, the cycle starts getting but darker and darker.
  • Cool Sword: the Dwarven sihill.
  • Cooperation Gambit: Yennefer and Fringilla Vigo, who have a history of being on opposing sides in a battle. Fringilla notices Yen preparing escape, and provides support under the premise that she would never lead into something so deadly and foolhardy anyone that she does not hate.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Regis' description of blood addiction is an extremely accurate account of alcoholism.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Regis in his hut serves the crew a concoction he was just brewing of mandrake and belladonna. Which is mildly psychedelic.
  • Five-Man Band: Geralt's hanse gets a start in here.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: ...liquid... ichor... hemoglobin...
  • Kick the Dog: Ciri finds out that a highwayman's life offers a plenty of ways to vent off her issues.
  • Nobody Here But Us Birds: played for laughs. When Zoltan Chivay tells the gang he'll signal them by making a sparrowhawk's call, they call him on not even knowing how a sparrowhawk sounds. So he points out that if they hear a weird, unidentifiable noise, they'll know it's him.
  • Overly Long Name: as revealed in this book, Geralt wanted to initially call himself Geralt Roger Eric du Haute-Bellegarde, but Vesemir explained to him how awful it sounds, so he picked a random city, becoming Geralt Of Rivia. He mentions that in the presence of Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach and Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy, who both felt insulted and start explaining the origins of their names.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Geralt's new crew. Also, the Rats. The concept of True Companions is discussed in here; aen hanse is a Nilfgaardian word for an armed company whose members are friends.