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'The Witcher' books in order: how to read them start to finish

Henry Cavill as Geralt in The Witcher Season 2
Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in 'The Witcher' season 2. (Image credit: Netflix/Jay Maidment)

Want to read The Witcher books in order as The Witcher season 2 arrives?

Netflix's ever-expanding Witcher franchise isn't an original idea; like many other fantasy epics, it's based on a series of popular novels. In this instance, the world of the Continent and its inhabitants come from the mind of best-selling Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski. 

Sapkowski's series of monster-slaying fantasy novels have sold more than 15 million copies and have only grown in popularity thanks to the Netflix show and animated features alongside CD Projekt RED's incredibly successful video games.

The books that both media properties are based on started life as a series of short stories published in a Polish fantasy magazine. The first set of published stories were collected together in Polish in 1992, but English translations didn't start arriving until 2007. The first two published novels were translated by Danusia Stok, with David French taking over for every Witcher book thereafter.

If you've decided you want to read the Witcher books in order you might think you can just set out to read them in the order they were released. Sadly, the Witcher books order is ever so slightly more complicated than that.

If you want to chronologically follow the story you'll need to change your approach slightly. That's why we've put together this guide on how you can read the Witcher books in order!

How to read the Witcher books in order

The order you need to read the Witcher books in order to best follow the main story is:

If you're looking at that list and wondering why the Witcher books order doesn't follow the date they were first published, allow us to explain.

The Last Wish features stories that establish the rules of what it means to be a witcher, and you’ll also get a sense of Geralt’s personality and read about what he gets up to whilst working and in his spare time. 

Sword of Destiny might have been published later, but you should read this second collection of short stories next purely because it’s where we first meet princess Ciri, a character who is vital to the overarching narrative of the entire saga. 

From there, if you want to experience every single Witcher story Sapkowksi has penned so far, you should pick up Season of Storms. However, as the events described in the books aren’t integral to the main series’ plot, you could skip this one if you just want to follow the main plot.

Whether you skip Season of Storms or not, things get easier after this third collection, as you can follow the five main novels —Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower of the Swallow, and The Lady of the Lake— in release order. And that's how you read the Witcher books in order.

You can purchase each Witcher book individually, but they’re often collected in bundles on Amazon so you might save some money buying them as a set. Right now, you can find eight-book bundles on Amazon US and on Amazon UK.

If you'd prefer to read them as ebooks, you can pick up complete collections at the Amazon Kindle store.

Do I need to read the Witcher graphic novels? 

If eight books, three games, and one of the best Netflix shows to date aren’t enough to satisfy you, you could check out the graphic novels for even more Witcher tales. Comic book publisher Dark Horse has published a series of comics that details even more of Geralt’s exploits on the Continent.

It’s worth noting that the graphic novels are less connected to the story from the Witcher books. They aren’t written by Sapkowksi, and they’re based on the continuity of the video games instead. However, they’re great stories to pore over and the artists have worked incredibly hard to capture the essence of Continent, so if you're already a fan you'll probably enjoy them.

Each story is available as individual issues or as collected volumes that can be purchased directly from Dark Horse. The only exception here is Witch's Lament; it still has two issues yet to be published and is due to be collected together as a sixth volume in December.

If you want to check out the writing and art style of the comics before paying a penny, there's a sampler available on the Dark Horse comics site for free. 

The current graphic novels that have been released are: 

There’s also a library edition that collates the first three comic series together alongside the Killing Monsters one-shot, which had not been collected up to that point. Alongside these stories, the library edition features notes from the comics' creators and a bonus sketchbook section.

While you’re on the Dark Horse website, you might also spot The World of the Witcher. This compendium isn’t a companion to the books, but rather the video games. It was produced by CD Projekt RED as a guided tour of their version of the Witcher saga and it offers insights on everything from weapons to locations and plot points — that does mean you should probably steer clear if you've not read the books just yet.

How faithful is the Netflix series to the Witcher books? 

Surprisingly, the Netflix series is aligned quite closely to Sapkowksi’s original novels; the first series is based on short stories found in The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, but it does take some liberties with the timings, which is why there are several time-jumps across the series.

If you get a bit confused watching the series, Netflix has produced this interactive map. It details key events from the past, as well as mapping out the main story, beats from the first season leading up to when Ciri and Geralt crossed paths after the battle of Sodden Hill.