Times of Contempt (official English translation, literal translation: The Time of Disdain, early title was annouced as Times of Anger, original Polish: Czas pogardy), written by Andrzej Sapkowski, first published in Poland in 1995, is the fourth book in the Witcher series and the second novel in the Witcher saga. It directly continues Blood of Elves, which begins the saga of Ciri and Geralt. The English version novel is currently being translated by Danusia Stok and was expected to be published in the fall of 2010. This release date was missed however and has seen numerous edits since. Gollancz has been critisised for missing the numerous releases. This has in turn pushed Baptism Of Fire further back (for details see the Baptism Of Fire page itself).
Currently the release date for the English translation (UK) is unknown after the latest date was missed (it will eventually be in individual bookstores with 'Gollancz'; Orion UK, which Gollancz are a subsidiary of, have not released a statement). The US publisher, 'Orbit Books', 'had' a scheduled release date however of December 12th 2012 - but this has been missed and Orbit have not yet made a statement either about a new intended release date for the US. Gollancz has made an unofficial statement saying that Danusia Stok has handed in well over half of the novel (which reportedly will be at 320 pages in length).
It is unknown if Gollancz's publishing problems are the same of that of Orbit. This is likely the case however as each company is hiring the same translator, Danusia Stok, and there has, for a long time, been a rumour regarding the copyright details to do with the original polish and translation for different publishers to the original polish.
Amazon UK has a set release of June 20th 2013. Amazon however does not have rights to publications, only distributions, and so would be set back in any case. No publisher has, to date, made claims that an e-book is to be released but it is speculated that Gollancz may be the first to do so as they own the e-book rights to both The Last Wish and Blood Of Elves.
The story in Times of Contempt begins where Blood of Elves left off, essentially with Ciri and Yennefer having just left the Temple in Ellander, on their way to Gors Velen, and ultimately Thanedd Island. It is Yennefer's intention that Ciri be enrolled at Aretuza and that she continue her instruction in the use and mastery of magic.
Once they arrive in Gors Velen, Yennefer goes to see her old friend Giancardi Molnar, a dwarven banker. The latter informs the sorceress that her financial movements are being tracked, something Yennefer already suspected, but he arranges an essentially unlimited line of credit for her and makes several financial transfers to cover expenses for Ciri's education. He and Yennefer also agree to allow Ciri to see the sights, escorted by one of Molnar's faithful employees, Fabio Sachs.
While on their excursion, things get quickly out of hand and Ciri is mistaken for one of about a dozen students who have recently "escaped" from Aretuza in the kerfuffle leading up to the mages' conference being held there. She is apprehended by no less than the former and current headmistresses of the academy, Tissaia de Vries and Margarita (Rita) Laux-Antille after she uses a magical amulet given to her by Yennefer in case of emergency.
At first, the sorceresses do not believe Ciri's story, but ultimately, the girl and Fabio manage to convince the headmistresses to check out their story at the bank and things are quickly confirmed by Yennefer and Giancardi. The three sorceresses then decide to discuss events over at the Silver Heron, taking Ciri with them and leaving poor Fabio to deal with his employer.
At the inn, Tissaia and Rita have rented the entire cellar which is actually a bath house and the four "ladies" retire there to relax and chat. It seems that both Rita and Tissaia, but especially Rita have every intention of getting good and drunk and Ciri is dispatched to refill their caraff of wine not very long after it arrives.
While getting the refreshments, Ciri notices a mercenary (Rayla) who orders the innkeeper to open a back door for her — a door which leads directly to the outer walls of the city, bypassing the usual gates and guards. On her second trip to refill the caraff, Ciri uses her new found knowledge and runs away to see Geralt whom she has been told is at Hirundum, not far from Gors Velen. Yennefer, luckily is not far behind. Ciri's flight does, however, provide Geralt and Yennefer with an opportunity to meet up again and to patch things in their relationship before the three set off for Thanedd Island together.
On the island, things are in a tizzy. The girls have been temporarily moved from their usual accommodation within Aretuza to Loxia, the lowest level of the complex as the school itself is being used to accommodate the visiting sorcerers and sorceresses. That evening, Yennefer takes Geralt as her date to the reception, leaving Ciri in her room and ensuring that there is no second flight with magic.
At the reception, Geralt meets quite a few interesting individuals, but in particular he meets Vilgefortz for the first time. The mage is considered very young (which of course is anything less than 100 years to mages, but he looks more like 35), he is also considered to be particularly talented, but as Geralt finds out, his road to becoming a mage was not exactly the usual route. The wizard was abandoned as a baby and taken in and raised by druids. It was only as an adult that he became a mage. A point he underlines with some emphasis to the witcher. He even goes so far as to try to encourage Geralt to become a mage himself, but the witcher refuses.
Dijkstra also tries to recruit the witcher to no avail.
After the reception, Yennefer and Geralt retire to their room and re-connect on a more intimate level. After a very fruitful reunion and a bit of sleep, the witcher is awakened by an urge to urinate, but in deference to his hosts, decides against relieving himself in the flower pots outside the window and decides to find the courtyard. This is when he stumbles upon the coup, already taking place.
In the ensuing confusion we find out that Yennefer had brought Ciri before the Council and that the girl had begun to prophesize. The exact course of events is still unclear.
Links to publishers