Everyone has some kind of debt. Such is life. Debts and liabilities, obligations, gratitude, payments, doing something for someone. Or perhaps for ourselves? For in fact we are always paying ourselves back and not someone else. Each time we are indebted we pay off the debt to ourselves. In each of us lies a creditor and a debtor at once and the art is for the reckoning to tally inside us. We enter the world as a minute part of the life we are given, and from then on we are ever paying off debts, To ourselves. For ourselves. In order for the final reckoning to tally.
Following the events of Thanned we pick up with Geralt heavily wounded and recovering, haunted by what Ciri is becoming, Geralt, the lone white wolf, journey’s, slowly forming his pack through his escapades, bonding strangely together to find Ciri. The book doesn’t have a lot of plot moving story but is told directly from the perspective of Geralt, whereas in the past 2 books the story was mostly told from a POV perspective. The book introduces new characters to the story that form the brotherhood around Geralt that are in my opinion some of the best companions that the series has had yet, Milva the forest dwelling archer and Regis a barber-surgeon. Geralt initially uninclined to want to let anyone share his burden, broods and tries to walk the path alone, to atone for his mistakes and responsibilities but towards the end of the book friendship and camaraderie triumph. We are also shown what the other two ladies of the books are up to, Ciri succumbing to her bloodlust while with the rats, and Yennefer being well herself (sorry, can’t elaborate, spoilers) and what the other side characters are up to.
A standout for me throughout the whole book was the macabre atmosphere that surrounds all the characters, the war torn land, the fires raging everywhere. The book doesn’t involve a whole lot of political conflict or splendid sorcery, it never really cares about who’s fighting who, as it really doesn’t matter beyond the death and destruction that it leaves behind.