Blood of Elves
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Cover of the UK edition of Blood of Elves
|Original title||Krew elfów|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||The Sword of Destiny|
|Followed by||Time of Contempt|
Blood of Elves (Polish: Krew elfów) is the first novel in the Witcher Saga written by Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski, first published in Poland in 1994 (English translation was published in late 2008). It is a sequel to the Witcher short stories collected in the books The Last Wish (Ostatnie życzenie) and The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia) and is followed by Time of Contempt (Czas pogardy). It was published in Czech Republic (Leonardo, 1995), Russia (AST, 1996), Spain (Bibliopolis, 2003), Lithuania (Eridanas, 2006), Germany (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2008) the United Kingdom (Gollancz, 2008) and most recently in the United States (Orbit, 2009).
The Empire of Nilfgaard attacks the Kingdom of Cintra. Queen Calanthe commits suicide and her granddaughter, Cirilla, called Ciri and nicknamed the "Lion Cub of Cintra" manages to flee from the burning capital city. Emhyr var Emreis, Emperor of Nilfgaard, sends his spies to find her. He knows that this young girl has great importance, not only because of her royal blood, but also because of her magical potential and elven blood in her veins.
The girl is being protected by Geralt of Rivia, a witcher - a magically and genetically mutated monster slayer for hire, who takes her to the witchers' keep - Kaer Morhen. There Ciri is being taught by other witchers, including old Vesemir, Coën, Eskel and Lambert. She learns about monsters and how to fight them. She is taught to fight with a sword in the witcher style. But during her "education", the sorceress Triss Merigold comes to Kaer Morhen. She is called by Geralt to help with occasional strange and abnormal behavior he has seen in Ciri. Triss realises that Ciri is a Source. She acknowledges that she does not have the power to control Ciri's talent, and advises Geralt to swallow his pride and seek help with Yennefer, a more experienced sorceress and his former lover.
At the same time, a mysterious wizard called Rience is looking for the girl. He is a servant of a more powerful mage, who remains unknown. He captures Geralt's friend, Dandelion the bard, and tortures him for information about Ciri. Dandelion is saved by the timely arrival of Yennefer, who engages in a short magic combat with Rience. Rience manages to escape through a portal opened by his master, but left with a prominent facial scar from Yennefer's spell.
In the spring, Geralt leaves Kaer Morhen with Triss and Ciri, intending to deliver Ciri to the Temple School in Ellander where she would receive a "normal" education from Nenneke. On the way, Triss falls ill, and they join Yarpen Zigrin's dwarven company who is guarding a caravan for King Henselt. Geralt tells Ciri about the roses of Aelirenn, an elf who died leading the elven youths to fight the humans. The caravan is attacked by the Scoia'tael, and it is revealed that the escort mission was a trap set by the kings who doubted Yarpen's loyalty.
Ciri's stay in Ellander is still haunted by disturbing dreams until the arrival of Yennefer, who starts educating her in the ways of magic. From an initial antagonism, their relationship develops into a strong and deep bond, like that of a mother and daughter.
Meanwhile, Geralt does his best to track Rience and his mysterious employer. With the help of Dandelion and Shani, he forces a confrontation with Rience, during which both are injured. Rience's master intervenes again, opening a portal for him, and Geralt is prevented from pursuing the mage by Filippa Eilhart, who also kills the last surviving of the Michelet brothers so as not to provide Geralt any source of information which might eventually reveal the mysterious mage. Leaving Geralt gravely wounded.
Yennefer became Ciri's mentor and teacher. As they are about to leave the Temple School in Ellander, Yennefer asks Ciri whether she didn't like her at first, leading to a series of flashbacks detailing Ciri's studies with Yennefer from the day they were introduced and back to the present as they are about to leave the Temple. And Ciri responds by admitting the she didn't like her, afterwards they leave.
- Geralt of Rivia. A Witcher, a human who has been transformed into a supernatural monster-slayer by the ingestion of various mutagens. Although Witchers rarely get involved in politics, Geralt takes under his charge a political refugee called Ciri, the granddaughter of the previous Queen of Cintra, a kingdom destroyed by Nilfgaardian invaders. He is the protagonist of tie-in videogames The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and upcoming sequel The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
- Triss Merigold. A powerful sorceress and member of the Chapter of Wizards, Triss wields significant power and unclear motives.
- Ciri, the Lion-Cub of Cintra, is the young granddaughter of the deceased and overthrown Queen Calanthe of Cintra. The blood of the elves flow through her veins, and she is hunted down for the mysterious power which she commands.
- Dandelion. A charming, famous poet who is also a spy for the King of Aedirn.
- Yennefer of Vengerberg. Another member of the Chapter of Wizards, and an ex-lover of Geralt's. Considered more powerful than even Triss Merrigold, Yennefer is called upon to try and gain an understanding of Ciri's power.
- Czech (Leonardo, 1995)
- Bulgarian (InfoDAR/ИнфоДАР 2008) ISBN 978-954-761-332-4
- Finnish (WSOY, 2012) ISBN 978-951-0-39023-8
- French (Bragelonne, 2008)
- German (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1 November 2008) ISBN 3-423-24700-2
- Hungarian (PlayON, 2013)
- Italian (Editrice Nord, 2012) ISBN 978-88-429-1665-9
- Lithuanian (Eridanas, 2006)
- Portuguese (Brazil) (WMF Martins Fontes, 2013)
- Russian (AST, 1996)
- Serbian (Čarobna Knjiga,2012)
- Spanish (Bibliópolis, 2003)
- Swedish (2011)
- Alison Flood, Gemmell prize for fantasy goes to Polish novel, Blood of Elves, Guardian, Friday 19 June 2009
- Nic Clarke, The 2009 David Gemmell Legend Award Shortlist, Part Two
- Blood of Elves review in Fantasy Fan
- Review in Total Sci-Fi
- Review in Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews