The Tower of Fools


By Andrzej Sapkowski

Translated by David French

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"A fantastic novel that any fan of The Witcher will instantly appreciate." —The Gamer

Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series has become a fantasy phenomenon, finding millions of fans worldwide and inspiring the hit Netflix show and video games. Now the bestselling author introduces readers to a new hero on an epic journey in The Tower of Fools, the first book of the Hussite Trilogy.

Reinmar of Bielawa, sometimes known as Reynevan, is a healer, a magician, and according to some, a charlatan. When a thoughtless indiscretion forces him to flee his home, he finds himself pursued
not only by brothers bent on vengeance but by the Holy Inquisition.

In a time when tensions between Hussite and Catholic countries are threatening to turn into war and mystical forces are gathering in the shadows, Reynevan's journey will lead him to the Narrenturm—the Tower of Fools.

The Tower is an asylum for the mad…or for those who dare to think differently and challenge the prevailing order. And escaping it, avoiding the conflict around him, and keeping his own sanity will prove more difficult than he ever imagined

"A ripping yarn delivered with world-weary wit, bursting at the seams with sex, death, magic and madness." —Joe Abercrombie

"This is historical fantasy done right." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A highly enjoyable historical fantasy." —Booklist

The Tower of Fools is an historical novel set during the Hussite Wars in Bohemia during the 1400s, a period of religious conflict and persecution. Characters in the novel may express views that some readers might find offensive.

Also by Andrzej Sapkowski:
Witcher collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny

Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake
Season of Storms

The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)

Translated by David French



The end of the world did not occur in the Year of Our Lord 1420, although much had indicated that it would.

The chiliasts’ dark prophecies that predicted the End quite precisely—on the Monday after Saint Scholastica’s Day in the month of February of the year 1420—did not come true. Monday came and went, Tuesday, too, then Wednesday: still nothing. The Days of Punishment and Vengeance preceding the coming of the Kingdom of the Lord never arrived. Although a thousand years had passed, Satan was not loosed from his prison, nor did he go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the Earth. No sinners or foes of God perished from sword, fire, hunger, hailstones, fangs of beasts, stings of scorpions or venom of snakes. The faithful waited in vain on the peaks of Tábor, Beránek, Oreb, Sion and the Mount of Olives, and in the quinque civitates, the five chosen cities, for the second coming of Christ, as foretold in the Prophecy of Isaiah. The end of the world did not come to pass. The world neither perished nor went up in flames. Not all of it, at least.

But things certainly weren’t dull.

My, but this pottage is truly delicious. Thick, spicy and creamy. I haven’t eaten soup like this for ages. Thank you, noble gentlemen, for the repast, and thank you, young miss innkeeper. What would I say to beer, you ask? Yes. By all means. Comedamus tandem, et bibamus, cras enim moriemur.

Where was I? Ah, yes—time passed, and the end of the world still did not occur, and events transpired according to their rightful order. Wars were waged, plagues proliferated, mors nigra raged, hunger abounded. Neighbour robbed and killed neighbour and lusted after his wife, and men behaved like wolves towards one another. The Jews were treated to a little pogrom from time to time and the heretics to a bit of burning at the stake. Other notable events included skeletons cavorting around burial grounds, Death roaming the Earth with his scythe, an incubus forcing its way between the trembling thighs of sleeping maids, and a striga alighting on the back of a lone rider in the wilds. Clearly, the Devil was involving himself in Earthly affairs, wandering around like a roaring lion wondering who to devour next.

Plenty of esteemed people died during that time. Plenty were also born, of course, but dates of birth aren’t written down in chronicles and no one ever remembers them, with the possible exception of mothers, and in cases when a babe is born with two heads or two cocks. But deaths? Such things are carved in stone.

Wherefore in 1421, on the Monday following Laetare Sunday, Jan apellatus Kropidło, Piast duke and episcopus wloclaviensis, died in Opole, having attained a well-deserved three score years. Before his death, he had made a donation of six hundred grzywna to the city of Opole. It is said that part of the sum, representing the dying man’s last will, went to Red-headed Kundzia’s, a celebrated Opole brothel. The bishop had availed himself of the services of that establishment, located at the rear of the Franciscan monastery, right up until his death—though towards the end he was more voyeur than active participant.

In the summer of 1422—I do not recall the exact date—Henry V, King of England and victor at Agincourt, died in Vincennes. Charles VI, King of France, having been quite mad for five years, outlived him by a mere two months. The madman’s son, Charles the Dauphin, laid claim to the crown, but the English refused to recognise him. The Dauphin’s mother, Queen Isabelle, had, after all, much earlier proclaimed him a bastard, conceived some distance from the marital bed and with a man of sound mind. And since bastards don’t ascend the throne, an Englishman, little Harry, the son of Henry V, became the rightful ruler of France aged only nine months. Harry’s uncle, John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, became Regent of France. He, together with the Burgundian faction, held northern France—including Paris—while the south was controlled by the Dauphin Charles and the Armagnac faction. And dogs howled among the corpses on battlefields between the two demesnes.

At Pentecost in 1423, Pedro de Luna, the Avignon antipope, an anathematized schismatic, entitling himself Benedict XIII—contrary to the resolutions of two ecumenical councils—died in Pensicola Castle, not far from Valencia.

Other men passed during this time. The Habsburg, Ernest the Iron, Duke of Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Istria and Trieste. Jan of Racibórz—a duke of both Piast and Přemyslid blood—also dead. Wacław, dux Lubiniensis, died young; Duke Henryk, Lord of Ziębice with his brother Jan, died. Henryk dictus Rumpoldus, Duke of Głogów, died in exile. Mikołaj Trąba, Archbishop of Gniezno, an upright and judicious wise man, died. Michael Küchmeister, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, died in Malbork. Jakub Pęczak known as “Fish,” a miller from near Bytom, also died. I admit he was a mite less famous and celebrated than the above-mentioned men, but he had the advantage over them that I knew him personally and used to drink with him, which I never did with the others.

Meanwhile, important cultural developments were also taking place. Bernardino of Sienna, John Cantius and John Capistrano preached, Jean Gerson and Paweł Włodkowic taught, Christine de Pisan and Thomas Hemerken à Kempis wrote eruditely. Laurentius of Březová was writing his exquisite chronicle. Andrei Rublev painted icons, Tommaso Masaccio painted, Robert Campin painted. Jan van Eyck, Duke John of Bavaria’s artist, painted the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb altarpiece for Saint Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent. It is a most gorgeous polyptych, now adorning Jodocus Vijd’s chapel. In Florence, the master Pippo Brunelleschi finished building the marvellous dome over the four naves of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. And we in Silesia were not to be outdone—here, Piotr of Frankenstein completed a most impressive church dedicated to Saint James in the town of Nysa. It’s not far from here in Milicz, so you should take the chance to see it if you haven’t yet been.

In that year of 1422, at Shrovetide, King Władysław II of Poland, born Jogaila of Lithuania, held his nuptials with great pomp in the city of Lida, wedding Sophia of Halshany, a blushing young maid of seventeen—more than half a century younger than he. It was said that the maid was more famous for her looks than her morals, which would cause many a problem later. For Jogaila, forgetting his duty to satisfy a young wife, set off to fight the Prussian lords—I mean the Teutonic Knights—in early summer. Thus the new Grand Master of the Order, Paul von Rusdorf, Küchmeister’s successor, met the full force of the Polish army soon after taking office—and felt it keenly. You may hear nothing of his prowess in Sophia’s bedchamber, but Jogaila was still spry enough to give the Teutonic Knights a sound thrashing.

At that time, a host of important events also took place in the Kingdom of Bohemia. There was great unrest there, with much bloodletting and unceasing war. About which I can in no way speak… Please forgive an old man, m’lords, but to fear is human, and I’ve felt the rod too often for rash words. After all, gentlemen, I see on your tunics the Polish Nałęcze and Habdanki arms, and on yours, noble Czechs, the cockerels of the lords of Dobrá Voda and the arrows of the knights of Strakonice… And you, grim sir, are a Zettritz, judging by the bison’s head on your escutcheon. Though I’m unable even to place your slanting chequerboard and gryphons, m’lord. Neither can it be ruled out that you, a friar of the Order of Saint Francis, won’t inform to the Holy Office, which one can be certain about in your regard, friars of Saint Dominic. Given such diverse and international company, you may see for yourselves why I can’t breathe a word about Czech matters, not knowing who among you supports Albrecht, and who the Polish king and heir. Who among you supports Meinhard of Hradec and Oldřich of Rožmberk, and who supports Hynce Ptáček of Pirkštejn and Jan Kolda of Žampach. Who here supports Count Spytko of Melsztyn, and who is a partisan of Bishop Oleśnicki. I have no desire for a flogging, but I know I’ll get one, because I often have. Why so, you ask? Why thus: if I say that during these years the valiant Czech Hussites trounced the Germans, crushing three successive papist crusades, before I know it, I’ll get it in the neck from one side. But if I say instead that the heretics clobbered the crusaders at the battles of Vítkov Hill, Vyšehrad, Žatec and Německý Brod with the help of the Devil, the others will seize and flog me. Wherefore I prefer to keep my counsel, and if I’m to say anything, to do so with the impartiality of an envoy—reporting, as they say, sine ira et studio, concisely, to the point and adding nothing.

Thus I’ll say in short: in the autumn of 1420, Jogaila, the King of Poland, refused to accept the Bohemian crown that the Hussites had offered him. It had been decided in Kraków that the Lithuanian dux Witold, who had always wanted to reign, would take it. However, so as not to vex the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund or the Pope, Witold’s nephew, Sigismund, son of Korybut was sent to Bohemia. Sigismund, commanding a force of five thousand Polish knights, arrived in Golden Prague in 1422, on Saint Stanisław’s day. But around Epiphany of the following year, the prince had to return to Lithuania—Sigismund of Luxembourg and Otto Colonna, at that time Holy Father Martin V, being so enraged by that Bohemian succession. What do you say to that? Then in 1424, on the eve of the Visitation, Korybut’s son was back in Prague. This time, though, against the will of Jogaila and Witold, against the wishes of the Pope and of the Holy Roman Emperor. Meaning as an outlaw and an exile. At the head of outlaws and exiles like himself. And not numbering thousands, as previously, but only hundreds.

In Prague, the uprising devoured its own children like Saturn, as faction battled faction. Jan of Želiv, executed on the Monday after Reminiscere Sunday in 1422, by May of that year was being mourned in every church as a martyr. Golden Prague also proudly stood up to the Tábor, but finally met its match in the shape of that great warrior, Jan Žižka. Žižka gave the Praguians a good hiding in the Year of Our Lord 1424, on the second day after the June Nones, at Malešov by the River Bohynka. There were many, many new widows and orphans in Prague after that defeat.

Who knows, perhaps it was the orphans’ tears that caused Jan Žižka of Trocnov—and later of the Chalice—to die soon afterwards in Přibyslav, near the Moravian border, the Wednesday before Saint Gall’s Day. As before, some wept because of him and others wept at his passing, as at the loss of a father. Which is why they called themselves the Orphans…

But surely you remember these details, for it was not so long ago. And yet it all feels like… history.

And do you know, noble lords, how you can tell that a time is historical? Because much happens, and happens quickly.

Although the world did not end, other prophecies were fulfilled, bringing down great wars and great misfortunes on Christian folk, and many men fell. It was as though God wanted the dawning of the new order to be preceded by the extinction of the old. Many believed that the Apocalypse was nigh. That the Ten-Horned Beast was emerging from the Abyss. That the dread Four Horsemen would soon appear amid the smoke of fires and blood-soaked fields. That any moment, trumpets would sound and seals be broken. That fire would tumble from the heavens. That the Wormwood Star would fall on a third part of the rivers and the fountains of waters. That a madman, when he espied the footprint of another man on the ashes, would, weeping, kiss that footprint.

At times, it was so dreadful, it made your—if you’ll pardon me, m’lords—arse go numb with fear.

It was an iniquitous time. Evil. And if you wish, m’lords, I’ll tell you about it, in order to allay the boredom, before the rains that keep us in the tavern relent. I shall tell you about the folk who lived then, and about those who also lived then but were by no means folk. I’ll tell how the former and the latter struggled with what that time brought. With fate. And with their very selves.

This story begins agreeably and delightfully, dreamily and fondly—with pleasurable, tender lovemaking. But may that not delude you, good sirs.

May that not delude you.

Chapter One

In which the reader makes the acquaintance of Reinmar of Bielawa, called Reynevan, and of his better features, including his knowledge of the ars amandi, the arcana of horse-riding, and the Old Testament, though not necessarily in that order.

Through the small chamber’s window, against a background of the recently stormy sky, could be seen three towers. The first belonged to the town hall. Further off, the slender spire of the Church of Saint John the Evangelist, its shiny red tiles glistening in the sun. And beyond that, the round tower of the ducal castle. Swifts winged around the church spire, frightened by the recent tolling of the bells, the ozone-rich air still shuddering from the sound.

The bells had also quite recently tolled in the towers of the Churches of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Corpus Christi. Those towers, however, weren’t visible from the window of the chamber in the garret of a wooden building affixed like a swallow’s nest to the complex of the Augustinian hospice and priory.

It was time for Sext. The monks began the Deus in adjutorium while Reinmar of Bielawa—known to his friends as “Reynevan”—kissed the sweat-covered collarbone of Adèle of Stercza, freed himself from her embrace and lay down beside her, panting, on bedclothes hot from lovemaking.

Outside, Priory Street echoed with shouts, the rattle of wagons, the dull thud of empty barrels and the melodious clanking of tin and copper pots. It was Wednesday, market day, which always attracted large numbers of merchants and customers.

Memento, salutis Auctor

quod nostri quondam corporis,

ex illibata Virgine

nascendo, formam sumpseris.

Maria mater gratiae,

mater misericordiae,

tu nos ab hoste protege,

et hora mortis suscipe…

They’re already singing the hymn, thought Reynevan, lazily embracing Adèle, a native of distant Burgundy and the wife of the knight Gelfrad of Stercza. The hymn has begun. It beggars belief how swiftly moments of happiness pass. One wishes they would last for ever, but they fade like a fleeting dream.

“Reynevan… Mon amour… My divine boy…” Adèle interrupted his dreamy reverie. She, too, was aware of the passing of time, but evidently had no intention of wasting it on philosophical deliberations.

Adèle was utterly, completely, totally naked.

Every country has its customs, thought Reynevan. How fascinating it is to learn about the world and its peoples. Silesian and German women, for example, when they get down to it, never allow their shifts to be lifted higher than their navels. Polish and Czech women gladly lift theirs themselves, above their breasts, but not for all the world would they remove them completely. But Burgundians, oh, they cast off everything at once, their hot blood apparently unable to bear any cloth on their skin during the throes of passion. Ah, what a joy it is to learn about the world. The countryside of Burgundy must be beautiful. Lofty mountains… Steep hillsides… Vales…

“Ah, aaah, mon amour,” moaned Adèle of Stercza, thrusting her entire Burgundian landscape against Reynevan’s hand.

Reynevan, incidentally, was twenty-three and quite lacking in worldly experience. He had known very few Czech women, even fewer Silesians and Germans, one Polish woman, one Romani, and had once been spurned by a Hungarian woman. Far from impressive, his erotic experiences were actually quite meagre in terms of both quantity and quality, but they still made him swell with pride and conceit. Reynevan—like every testosterone-fuelled young man—regarded himself as a great seducer and erotic connoisseur to whom the female race was an open book. The truth was that his eleven trysts with Adèle of Stercza had taught Reynevan more about the ars amandi than his three-year studies in Prague. Reynevan hadn’t understood, however, that Adèle was teaching him, certain that all that counted was his inborn talent.

Ad te levavi oculos meos

qui habitas in caelis.

Ecce sicut oculi servorum

In manibus dominorum suorum.

Sicut oculi ancillae in manibus dominae suae

ita oculi nostri ad Dominum Deum nostrum,

Donec misereatur nostri.

Miserere nostri Domine…

Adèle seized Reynevan by the back of the neck and pulled him onto her. Reynevan, understanding what was required of him, made love to her powerfully and passionately, whispering assurances of devotion into her ear. He was happy. Very happy.

Reynevan owed the happiness intoxicating him to the Lord’s saints—indirectly, of course—as follows:

Feeling remorse for some sins or other—known only to himself and his confessor—the Silesian knight Gelfrad of Stercza had set off on a penitential pilgrimage to the grave of Saint James. But on the way, he decided that Compostela was definitely too far, and that a pilgrimage to Saint-Gilles would absolutely suffice. But Gelfrad wasn’t fated to reach Saint-Gilles, either. He only made it to Dijon, where by chance he met a sixteen-year-old Burgundian, the gorgeous Adèle of Beauvoisin. Adèle, who utterly enthralled Gelfrad with her beauty, was an orphan, and her two hell-raising and good-for-nothing brothers gave their sister to be married to the Silesian knight without a second thought. Although, in the brothers’ opinion, Silesia lay somewhere between the Tigris and the Euphrates, Stercza was the ideal brother-in-law in their eyes because he didn’t argue too much over the dowry. Thus, the Burgundian came to Heinrichsdorf, a village near Ziębice held in endowment by Gelfrad. While in Ziębice, Adèle caught Reinmar of Bielawa’s eye. And vice versa.

“Aaaah!” screamed Adèle of Stercza, wrapping her legs around Reynevan’s back. “Aaaaa-aaah!”

Never would those moans have occurred, and nothing more than surreptitious glances and furtive gestures have passed between them, if not for a third saint: George, to be precise. For on Saint George’s Day, Gelfrad of Stercza had sworn an oath and joined one of the many anti-Hussite crusades organised by the Brandenburg Prince-Elector and the Meissen margraves. The crusaders didn’t achieve any great victories—they entered Bohemia and left very soon after, not even risking a skirmish with the Hussites. But although there was no fighting, there were casualties, one of which turned out to be Gelfrad, who fractured his leg very badly falling from his horse and was still recuperating somewhere in Pleissnerland. Adèle, a grass widow, staying in the meanwhile with her husband’s family in Bierutów, was able to freely tryst with Reynevan in a chamber in the complex of the Augustinian priory in Oleśnica, not far from the hospice where Reynevan had his workshop.

The monks in the Church of Corpus Christi began to sing the second of three psalms making up the Sext. We’ll have to hurry, thought Reynevan. During the capitulum, at the latest the Kyrie, and not a moment after, Adèle must vanish from the hospice. She cannot be seen here.

Benedictus Dominus

qui non dedit nos

in captionem dentibus eorum.

Anima nostra sicut passer erepta est

de laqueo venantium…

Reynevan kissed Adèle’s hip, and then, inspired by the monks’ singing, took a deep breath and plunged himself into her orchard of pomegranates. Adèle tensed, straightened her arms and dug her fingers in his hair, augmenting his biblical initiatives with gentle movements of her hips.

“Oh, oooooh… Mon amour… Mon magicien… My divine boy… My sorcerer…”

Qui confidunt in Domino, sicut mons Sion

non commovebitur in aeternum,

qui habitat in Hierusalem…

The third already, thought Reynevan. How fleeting are these moments of happiness

Revertere,” he muttered, kneeling. “Turn around, turn around, Shulamith.”

Adèle turned, knelt and leaned forward, seizing the lindenwood planks of the bedhead tightly and presenting Reynevan with her entire ravishingly gorgeous posterior. Aphrodite Kallipygos, he thought, moving closer. The ancient association and erotic sight made him approach like the aforementioned Saint George, charging with his lance thrust out towards the dragon of Silene. Kneeling behind Adèle like King Solomon behind the throne of wood of the cedar of Lebanon, he seized her vineyards of Engedi in both hands.

“May I compare you, my love,” he whispered, bent over a neck as shapely as the Tower of David, “may I compare you to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.”

And he did. Adèle screamed through clenched teeth. Reynevan slowly slid his hands down her sides, slippery with sweat, and the Burgundian threw back her head like a mare about to clear a jump.

Gloria Patri, et Filio et Spiritui sancto.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper

et in saecula saeculorum, Amen.


As the monks concluded the Gloria, Reynevan, kissing the back of Adèle of Stercza’s neck, placed his hand beneath her orchard of pomegranates, engrossed, mad, like a young hart skipping upon the mountains to his beloved…

A mailed fist struck the door, which thudded open with such force that the lock was torn off the frame and shot through the window like a meteor. Adèle screamed shrilly as the Stercza brothers burst into the chamber.

Reynevan tumbled out of bed, positioning it between himself and the intruders, grabbed his clothes and began to hurriedly put them on. He largely succeeded, but only because the brothers Stercza had directed their frontal attack at their sister-in-law.

“You vile harlot!” bellowed Morold of Stercza, dragging a naked Adèle from the bedclothes.

“Wanton whore!” chimed in Wittich, his older brother, while Wolfher—next oldest after Adèle’s husband Gelfrad—did not even open his mouth, for pale fury had deprived him of speech. He struck Adèle hard in the face. The Burgundian screamed. Wolfher struck her again, this time backhanded.

“Don’t you dare hit her, Stercza!” yelled Reynevan, but his voice broke and trembled with fear and a paralysing feeling of impotence, caused by his trousers being round his knees. “Don’t you dare!”

His cry achieved its effect, although not the way he had intended. Wolfher and Wittich, momentarily forgetting their adulterous sister-in-law, pounced on Reynevan, raining down a hail of punches and kicks on the boy. He cowered under the blows, but rather than defend or protect himself, he stubbornly pulled on his trousers as though they were some kind of magical armour. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw Wittich drawing a knife. Adèle screamed.

“Don’t,” Wolfher snapped at his brother. “Not here!”

Reynevan managed to get onto his knees. Wittich, face white with fury, jumped at him and punched him, throwing him to the floor again. Adèle let out a piercing scream which broke off as Morold struck her in the face and pulled her hair.

“Don’t you dare…” Reynevan groaned “… hit her, you scoundrels!”

“Bastard!” yelled Wittich. “Just you wait!”

Wittich leaped forward, punched and kicked once and twice. Wolfher stopped him at the third.

“Not here,” Wolfher repeated calmly, but it was a baleful calm. “Into the courtyard with him. We’ll take him to Bierutów. That slut, too.”

“I’m innocent!” wailed Adèle of Stercza. “He bewitched me! Enchanted me! He’s a sorcerer! Sorcier! Diab—”

Morold silenced her with another punch. “Hold your tongue, trollop,” he growled. “You’ll get the chance to scream. Just wait a while.”

“Don’t you dare hit her!” yelled Reynevan.

“We’ll give you a chance to scream, too, little rooster,” Wolfher added, still menacingly calm. “Come on, out with him.”

The Stercza brothers threw Reynevan down the garret’s steep stairs and the boy tumbled onto the landing, splintering part of the wooden balustrade. Before he could get up, they seized him again and threw him out into the courtyard, onto sand strewn with steaming piles of horse shit.

“Well, well, well,” said Nicolaus of Stercza, the youngest of the brothers, barely a stripling, who was holding the horses. “Look who’s stopped by. Could it be Reinmar of Bielawa?”

“The scholarly braggart Bielawa,” snorted Jentsch of Knobelsdorf, known as Eagle Owl, a comrade and relative of the Sterczas. “The arrogant know-all Bielawa!”

“Shitty poet,” added Dieter Haxt, another friend of the family. “Bloody Abélard!”

“And to prove to him we’re well read, too,” said Wolfher as he descended the stairs, “we’ll do to him what they did to Abélard when he was caught with Héloïse. Well, Bielawa? How do you fancy being a capon?”

“Go fuck yourself, Stercza.”

“What? What?” Although it seemed impossible, Wolfher Stercza had turned even paler. “The rooster still has the audacity to open his beak? To crow? The bullwhip, Jentsch!”

“Don’t you dare beat him!” Adèle called impotently as she was led down the stairs, now clothed, albeit incompletely. “Don’t you dare! Or I’ll tell everyone what you are like! That you courted me yourself, pawed me and tried to debauch me behind your brother’s back! That you swore vengeance on me if I spurned you! Which is why you are so… so…”

She couldn’t find the German word and the entire tirade fell apart. Wolfher just laughed.

“Verily!” he mocked. “People will listen to the Frenchwoman, the lewd strumpet. The bullwhip, Eagle Owl!”

The courtyard was suddenly awash with black Augustinian habits.


  • "Sapkowski's love for the period is clear as he touches on notorious historical events and figures ... The carefully painted landscapes and intricate politics effortlessly draw readers into Reinmar's life and times. This is historical fantasy done right."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • "A ripping yarn delivered with world-weary wit, bursting at the seams with sex, death, magic and madness."—Joe Abercrombie
  • "Sapkowski's energetic and satirical prose as well as the unconventional setting makes this a highly enjoyable historical fantasy. Recommended for Sapkowksi's many existing fans."—Booklist
  • "[The Tower of Fools] is a fantastic novel that any fan of The Witcher will instantly appreciate . . . Reynevan is an intelligent dope who follows his heart, his accompanying cast of characters is thoroughly developed and just as intriguing, and the worldbuilding employed by Sapkowski is impeccable."—The Gamer
  • “Sapkowski’s primary draw is his ability to weave rich historical context with a complex atmosphere of magic and superstition . . . [The Tower of Fools] is quite rewarding for readers ready to take the plunge.”—BookPage
  • "A story full of intrigue, politics, and murder is brought to life by Kenny in a smooth narrative style. Thanks to his vivid depiction of this fantasy world and its characters, listeners will eagerly await the second installment."—AudioFile
  • "The action is wonderfully done. Also a delight is the subtle humor….The author has also gifted us with the very popular Witcher series, books and film, but I enjoyed the link to real history even more."
     —Historical Novel Society

On Sale
Oct 27, 2020
Page Count
576 pages

Andrzej Sapkowski

About the Author

Andrzej Sapkowski was born in 1948 in Poland. He studied economy and business, but the success of his fantasy cycle about the Witcher Geralt of Rivia turned him into a bestselling writer. His work has received Poland’s Janusz A. Zajdel prize five times, as well as Great Britain’s David Gemmell Award for Fantasy, in 2009. In 2016, he received the World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement. The Witcher has been adapted to a successful video-game franchise, and is now a series on Netflix.

Learn more about this author