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The Viper

(Highland Guard #4)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  6,545 ratings  ·  373 reviews
The war for Scotland’s sovereignty rages on—as Robert the Bruce is crowned king and the Highland Guard, his elite fighting force of legendary warriors, battle for land . . . and love.

Prized for his snake-like stealth and deadly strikes, Lachlan "Viper" MacRuairi is a warrior to enlist but not to trust. His only loyalty is to his purse, his indifference sealed by bitter bet
Mass Market Paperback, 381 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,545 ratings  ·  373 reviews

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Spoiler-free mini review

I'm so completely hooked on this series and McCarty's world! The Highland Guard books are a combination of every single thing I adore in historicals - beautiful settings, strong heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, heart-stopping suspense, lots of action, adventurous plots, and best of all, unforgettable romances. These books are absolutely perfect for winters and I'm enjoying every word.

Favorite passage from The Viper:
“You’re a hard man to love, Lachlan MacRuairi, but I do
♡Karlyn P♡
Very good. Wow, once again the author has written a story where the H/h are up against the most impossible odds.

Viper and Isabella are both tortured souls, so if you like the tortured soul trope you'll get double your pleasure with this story. Times were very hard in those days, war or not. But fighting enemies and being captured means making impossible decisions that risks your life and others.

Isabella is a true character in history who crowned Robert Bruce, making him King of Scotland and a
Oct 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughts after My First Reread

I have just finished my first reread of this book. My initial rating stands. It is a 3 star read for me. I reread this book because most books I have read recently failed to capture me. I was bored flipping through the pages. The characters seemed unreal. In this hour of need, I returned to Monica McCarty, who always captures human interactions in a way that I can relate to.

I picked up The Viper today for reread, thinking maybe a reread would change my original opi
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highlander-books

This story begins with our heroine Lady Isabella MacDuff being led into a cage-a cage suspended above the courtyard at Berwick Castle. We see her strength of body, mind and spirit tested, as Bella has finally realized what crowning the Bruce king has cost her. The biggest price? She’s lost her daughter. They had to leave 12 year old Joan behind with her father, which wasn’t an awful fate for the girl since her father loved her, but imagine a loving mother
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathleen by: KarLynP
Story Rating 5 stars
Character Rating 5 stars
Romance Rating 5 stars
Heat Level 3.5 stars
Overall Rating 5 stars

Monica McCarty does it again. I just finished this book and I have chill's all over. This story was a very emotional one that had me shedding tears often through out the story. What amazed me most is that Monica wove this story around actual people and actual history. Oh I'm sure this book is not for everyone but it was just right for me.

I very much look forwards to the next book in the Hi
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book that I've been anticipating for the entire series! Both Lachlan and Bella are such larger-than-life characters, Bella's fierce courage and Lachlan's bad boy and IDGAF persona; now that their story comes to fruition, it makes quite the tale.

The Viper opens with Bella McDuff heroically walking to her imprisonment, to be hung in an iron cage from the highest tower of Berwick Castle. She dared to defy her husband and King Edward by crowning Robert Bruce, a historic privilege granted only to
~ Becs ~
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this and I think I may well have read it (perhaps devoured is a better word) much too fast.

I'd been looking forward to the story since the little teasers in The Ranger about Lachlan's feelings about Bella's fate. We start the story with Bella facing her punishment - incarceration in a very exposed cage atop a turret in a Scottish castle. I actually felt physically appalled by this because it is based in truth. This actually happened and I have lived in Scotland and it is cold
Sha Mslvoe
Monica McCarty is one of my favorite romance writers and I always know when I pick up one of her books that I'll feel better when I'm finished.

I love this scene. I laughed hysterically as I read Viper hit Chief :D
"Damn it, Viper," a familiar voice said from above.
"What the hell did you hit him with?"Lachlan's stomach pitched forward. Ah hell.
"Hawk?"His cousin's grinning face peered down at him. He winked.
"At your service."Lachlan started over toward the body moaning on the ground.
"Who did I
Safety warning: (view spoiler)

This is book 4 in the highland guard. I think this book would be okay as a standalone, but I do recommend reading at least The Chief (book 1) because it sets up the whole highland guard, the members, and their purpose. Then I also recommend you read book 2, The Hawk, because it's still my favorite, it's soooooo good, and I believe the heroes are cousins from that book and this book. And then rea
Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is barely tolerated by his fellow members of the Highland Guard because of his seeming indifference to anything but money for his service. However, they highly respect his warrior skills, his snakelike stealth and ability to get in and out of situations. He's extremely handsome but his sneer, surly personality and reputation keep most at a distance. When he's assigned to get Bella MacDuff to Robert Bruce's coronation, it ends up being a life changing event for both of t ...more
Duchess Nicole
I love the way that Monica McCarty uses real people and events and then creates a new world to throw them into. This entire Highland Guard series has been amazing. It reminds me a bit of Virginia Henley, in the fact that the author stays as true to history as she can while writing fictional historical romance.

Lachlan is the bad boy of the Highland Guard, the one who just doesn't seem to give a damn about anyone but himself. We've met him in previous books, namely The Chief, as he and Tor seem to
Kari Kaz
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! My favorite in the series so far. I was so looking forward to reading Lachlan's story and was not disappointed. We have a gorgeous warrior rebel, the bad-boy of the Highland Guard, falling in love with a wonderfully strong heroine. I loved Bella, how she goes to hell and back and comes out stronger and a better person at the end. Lachlan is amazing throughout the book, even when he's trying to convince her (and himself) that he's a Viper. I was very anxious to see these two to ...more
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My Synopsis:
Lachlan MacRuairi has been fighting for the last two years to get back to Isabella "Bella" MacDuff. Bella and the family and friends of Robert the Bruce were captured during a mission that Lachlan was in charge of. He was assigned to guide them to safety by Robert the Bruce. After their capture the English kept them prisoner for the last two years. Lachlan has blamed himself for failing to protect Bella and the rest of the group. Bella and Bruce's younger sister have been punished th
3.5 stars

While slow to finish I enjoyed this book. Wasn't a fav but great story. But there were things that kept standing out for me. Glaringly.

It’s safe to say that there is a repetitive pattern that McCarty likes to use throughout most of her books. I generally don’t like books that are clone copy of each other in plot and action and dialogue only difference being the characters (with seemingly similar characteristics). I’ve noticed this after reading a few of her books and have given her a p
Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Isabella MacDuff and Lachlan, what a pair they make.

When the story starts, Isabella is being marched into a cage at Berwick Castle to hang on public display. She's being made an example of not to go against King Edward of England. She was betrayed by Lachlan MacRuairi for crowning Robert Bruce as the King of Scotland. England and Scotland are at war and Edward is trying to destroy the Scots and what Bella did was treason. She was a traitor and she was going to pay for it with pub
Wow! The Viper by Monica McCarty is definitely the highlight of her Highlander special ops series so far. To recap - Robert the Bruce, war against King Edward, discord amongst Scottish nobles, indepences and LACHLAN MACRUARI. UNF.

There were many things I enjoyed about this book and the author's foreshadowing in the previous instalments certainly paid off. Certain bits and pieces of the story were already hinted at, such as the unsuccessful rescue attempt and Lachlan's growing frustration with hi
Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria
I just finished reading this book and it was just magic. I give five stars VERY sparingly, but I thought this one deserved it as I couldn't put it down; it had a totally amazing H and h, the story was fascinating and moved along at warp speed, I had that pain in the chest thing happening so many times in this book, and cried numerous times both in commiseration with the characters and in happiness. On top of that it had a totally awesome epilogue, one of the best I've ever read.

This series is al
Mindy (Naughty Book Snitch)
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, historical
Again I loved this book! Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is a tortured warrior soul, named specifically for his snake like personality. He doesn’t have friends and is only loyal to himself. Bella MacDuff is a passionate and devoted woman who stands up for what she believes in. Bella was imprisoned for crowning Robert Bruce the King of Scotland and betraying Britain’s King. Upon capture Bella was put in a steel cage and hung from a tower to be made and example of what happens when he is betrayed. Lachl ...more
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a good read. A bit long in parts but the underlying story was quite interesting.

I like this one more than the others in the series, probably because Bella stands up for herself more than the other women did, that and there is more to Lachlan than meets the eye. Lachlan and Isabella make a fascinating couple with lots of fireworks from start to finish. I seriously don't know which of these characters I liked better, Bella or Lachlan.
I really enjoyed this book but I think it would have been
Susan (susayq ~)
It seems like it took forever to read this, but I really loved it. Bella's story is so heartbreaking, and even so much more so when you stop to think what is described in this book is largely true. I really appreciate all the research the author puts into this series :) ...more
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Plot/Storyline: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📖
Feels: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋
Romance: 💞 💞 💞 💞 💞
Emotional Depth: 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔
Sexual Tension: ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️
Sensuality: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥
Sex Scene Length: 🍆 🍆 🍆 🍆 🍆

This book was fucking incredible. It deserves swear words far more creative than I can come up with to demonstrate how amazing it was. I read The Hawk by Monica McCarty last February, and I loved it so much that I think it ruind a year of reading for me. Well, I might just be in for another ruined year, because somehow, I l
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I have jumped around quite a bit with this series based on the books I get my hands on. Viper has always been a character that you don't know too much about. He was never a character that stuck out for me, so I was looking forward to reading his story.

Viper is a guy who is viewed upon with weariness. It's no secret that he is very good and getting into places and getting the job done, even when the odds are against him. When he's tasked to get Bella out of the heavily guarded keep, he ends up wi
Angie Lippard
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Oh Monica, Monica, Monica! Why?! I've read all your other books/series and have been waiting patiently for this book so I can read about the breathtaking Highland Guard. I waited till midnight so I could download it. (Ended up being 3am my time so I scratched that idea)

Lachlan wasn't my favorite character from the previous books but I still couldn't wait to read his story and get to know his past along with revisiting my other favorite Guardsmen. But why the language? Yes, I understand he is su
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Viper is definitely one of my favorite historical romance books. The story was full of intrigue, betrayal, and lots of steamy scenes.
The Viper tells the story of Isbella MacDuff and Lachlan MacRuairi, aka Viper. The beginning of the story is from Bella's point of view in captivity, but then takes us back to when Lachlan and Bella first meet and he's come to take her to Scone to crown Robert Bruce. Bella is forced to leave her daughter behind which tears her apart. She hates Lachlan for it b
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a great book, I really enjoyed it! A lot of people said this was one of the best books in the series. I don't really have a favourite in this series so far but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying reading this series.

The hero and heroine were great. Lachlan is so misunderstood. He's considered a snake with no morals who would do anything for money. But it's so not true and that become blatantly clear over the course of this book. He's actually really thoughtful and it warmed my heart at a
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that when I started this series I thought the whole concept might be pretty cheesy. It sounded like a Highlander/Navy SEAL mashup that was just cashing in on two hot romance sub-genres. Boy was I wrong. There are so many historical details, real life people, battles & places that I've taken to cheating and reading the author's note first because the research is so fascinating.

In this book the heroine is Bella MacDuff, a real life Scottish heroine who risked a great deal to crown
Lachlan "Viper" MacRuari, an elite highland warrior in service to Robert the Bruce has gained his reputation and code name because he strikes with deadly stealth. He's also known for a loyalty only to his purse which has made him coldly efficient and caustically indifferent to what moves the heart of most. Betrayals so deep can often have long-reaching ramifications, but Lachlan has honed his skill of detachment from anything in this life which would steer him away from his steel control of abs ...more
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Angsty historical romance at its best! The Viper reminded me why I fell in love Monica McCarty's take on dashing Highlander warriors!

I wasn't so impress with the other books in the series (with the exception of The Chief), and I was delighted that The Viper has all the elements that I love in a historical romance - it has just the right balance of angst and romance that keep me turning the pages.

I can only hope that the next one will be just as good if not better ;)
I absolutely love this series by Monica McCarty and anxiously anticipate each publication. The Viper was no different. Monica weaves just the right formula of real historical events and people with adventure and sizzling hot romance.
The Saint is next up due for publication in March 2012 and I've already pre-ordered it.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mccarty-monica
Oh, Lachlan, you bad, bad boy! :)

Great use of an authentic Scottish heroine in this fabulous book. I just love Monica McCarty's Highland Guard series! Yes, I had to wait almost a year for this book and I devoured it in one day, but it was worth it. Thankfully, I only have to wait another five months for "The Saint." Sigh.
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What do you get when you mix a legal career, a baseball career, motherhood, and a love of history with a voracious reader? In my case, a Historical Romance Author.

Like most writers, I’ve always loved to read. Growing up in California there was always plenty to do outside, but all too often I could be found inside curled up with a book (or two or three). I started with the usual fare: The Little Ho

Other books in the series

Highland Guard (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Chief (Highland Guard, #1)
  • The Hawk (Highland Guard, #2)
  • The Ranger (Highland Guard, #3)
  • The Saint (Highland Guard, #5)
  • The Recruit (Highland Guard, #6)
  • The Hunter (Highland Guard, #7)
  • The Raider (Highland Guard, #8)
  • The Arrow (Highland Guard, #9)
  • The Striker (Highland Guard, #10)
  • The Rock (Highland Guard, #11)

News & Interviews

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
69 likes · 11 comments
“You're a hard man to love, Lachlan MacRuairi, but I do belive I'm up to the challenge."
"We'll probably argue."
"Aye, it seems likely."
"I have a bit of a temper when I get angry."
"I have noticed," she said wryly.
"I can be a mean bastard. I"ll probably say something to hurt you."
She laughed. "Are you trying to scare me off?"
He gave her a rueful smile. " Maybe."
"Well, stop - it isn't going to work. I'm quite aware of your faults."
He frowned. "I didn't say they were faults.”
More quotes…