This is the third of the Witcher novels, and the sixth book of the series I have read now, having completed the two story collections, the digressive novel Season of Storms, and the first two of the main storyline.
The throughlines of this book: Triss, Philippa, Keira and other witches are banding together to maybe form a matriarchy? Ciri is in hiding, having joined a roving band, helping her solve the mystery of her past and future? Dykstra is plotting (go figure).
As far of Geralt is concerned, he is still looking for Ciri. He’s very far away from Nilfgaard but he can’t just go barreling forward because that would be too obvious and dangerous. He also needs time. He begins the novel travelling with Dandelion but after time he meets some additional companions. First, we meet Zoltan Chivay for the first time. I know him from the video games, but he’s a dwarf leading a party of dwarves and gnomes, protecting some refugees from the war. He also meets Milva, a champion archer, who helps Geralt early on, and then joins his quest in earnest in order to help find Ciri. The novel is almost entirely about the formation of this band (and other bands) and traveling toward the goal. Things happens, but this feels like biding time a little. In the meantime, we spend a lot of time considering the world of the Witcher. We learn a lot about the ways in which the novels want to handle vampires, and then some unfortunate opinions about abortion. Dandelion comes out looking pretty good.