Baptism of Fire (Polish: Chrzest ognia), written by Andrzej Sapkowski, was first published in Poland in 1996 and is the fifth book in The Witcher series and the third novel in the saga, thus continuing the saga of Geralt and Ciri directly onwards from the end of Time of Contempt.
The first UK edition was released on 6 March 2014 and the U.S. edition was released on 24 June 2014. Both were translated by David French and followed by The Tower of the Swallow. The second UK edition was released the next year on 8 January 2015.
- 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.
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 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.
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. Geralt had previously named himself "Geralt of Rivia" for credibility sake, however, it is shortly after this battle that Geralt is coincidentally 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 compress Yennefer into a jade 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.
The art on the current cover of the UK translation has been confirmed to be Alejandro Colucci's take on Maria "Milva" Barring. The same picture was originally used for Spanish translation by Alamut, for which earlier mentioned Alejandro worked as the artist.
In the U.S, cover art has been confirmed as an adapted take of the most recent French edition of the book. The credits for the American edition include illustration by Bartłomiej Gaweł, Paweł Mielniczuk, Marcin Błaszczak, Arkadiusz Matyszewski, Marian Chomiak and the design by Lauren Panepinto.
Amazon's original blurb:
- "The Wizards Guild has been shattered by a coup and, in the uproar, Geralt was seriously injured. The Witcher is supposed to be a guardian of the innocent, a protector of those in need, a defender against powerful and dangerous monsters that prey on men in dark times. But now that dark times have fallen upon the world, Geralt is helpless until he has recovered from his injuries. While war rages across all of the lands, the future of magic is under threat and those sorcerers who survive are determined to protect it. It's an impossible situation in which to find one girl - Ciri, the heiress to the throne of Cintra, has vanished - until a rumour places her in the Nilfgaard court, preparing to marry the Emperor. Injured or not, Geralt has a rescue mission on his hands. This is the third of the Witcher novels by Andrzej Sapkowski"
- Bulgarian: Вещерът: Огнено кръщение, translated by Vasil Velchev (ИнфоДар, 2010)
- Czech: Zaklínač V. - Křest ohněm, (Leonardo, Ostrava 1997)
- English: Baptism of Fire, translated by David French (UK – Gollancz, 2014, US – Orbit, 2014)
- Finnish: Tulikaste, translated by Tapani Kärkkäinen (WSOY, 2014)
- French: Le Baptême du Feu, translated by Caroline Raszka-Dewez (Bragelonne, 2010)
- German: Feuertaufe, translated by Erik Simon (dtv, 2009)
- Italian: Il battesimo del fuoco, translated by Raffaella Belletti (Nord, 2014)
- Lithuanian: Krikštas ugnimi, (Eridanas, 2006)
- Romanian: Botezul focului, translated by Mihaela Fiscutean (Nemira, 2019)
- Russian: Крещение огнём, (АСТ, 1997)
- Serbian: Vatreno krštenje - Saga o vešcu 5, translated by Milica Markić (Čarobna knjiga, 2012)
- Slovak: Zaklínač V.: Krst ohňom translated by Karol Chmel (Plus, 2017)
- Spanish: Bautismo de fuego, (Alamut, 2010)
- Brazilian Portuguese: Batismo de Fogo, translated by Olga Baginska-Shinzato (WMF Martins Fontes, 2015)
- Hungarian: Tűzkeresztség, translated by Kellermann Viktória (PlayON, Budapest, 2015)
- Turkish: Ateşle İmtihan, translated by Regaip Minareci (Pegasus Yayınları, 2018)
- Romanian: Botezul Focului, translated by Mihaela Fiscutean(Nemira, 2019)