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The Viper and the Urchin

(The Viper and the Urchin #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  642 ratings  ·  92 reviews
An assassin with a fear of blood.
A street girl with a big mouth.
They can’t really be the city’s only hope?

When Rory discovers Longinus’s blood phobia, she makes him a deal. Train her, and she won’t ruin his reputation as a lethal assassin.

What she doesn’t expect is that her new master has more eccentricities than a stray dog has fleas.

And that in aligning herself with h
Kindle Edition, 307 pages
Published (first published July 27th 2015)
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Celine Jeanjean Oh sorry, I only just your question!

It's not really like that film, no. It's quite lighthearted and humorous, and there's a lot of banter between the…more
Oh sorry, I only just your question!

It's not really like that film, no. It's quite lighthearted and humorous, and there's a lot of banter between the two main characters. But there is the aspect of a more seasoned assassin training a new recruit, yes :) (less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  642 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you can sit on a roof somewhere, I think that would be a great place to delve into "The Viper and the Urchin", an adventure by budding author Celine Jeanjean, set in the gritty, steampunk-type world of Damsport.

Two disparate personalities, together in an uneasy alliance, each with secrets, each both stronger and weaker than they seem, a hemophobic assassin and a small but streetwise urchin girl with a desire to be a hero swordswoman. Having no resources with which to achieve her dream, Rory's
Sara Snider
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Let me just say that I pretty much fell in love with Longinus from the synopsis alone. An assassin who’s afraid of blood? I knew from that moment that this was a book I needed to read.

Well, Longinus, and the book, did not disappoint. In fact, I’d say they both exceeded my expectations. Right from the opening pages, I was sitting there grinning like a fool as Longinus performs one of his famed assassinations–with all its unexpected flair. He is a man with a muse, and when the muse speaks, one mus
May 06, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (5/6/2019)! 🎁
Emily Wrayburn
Initial review:


[coherent review to come]

Proper review:
Originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind

Oh my goodness, this book was so much fun! To the point that I was making stupid noises during the last 10% or so. There are entertaining characters, an interesting setting and intriguing political machinations happening all around.

Rory is somewhere around the age of eighteen, and making ends meet picking pockets and the like with her partner in crime, Jake
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a really fun read. The setting is vividly described, and very imaginative . Without wishing to give too much away, look out for the coffee scene! I loved it. There are incredibly evocative moments, and the richness and the detail of the setting means I really felt like I was there, in the sweaty, grimy, but rather wonderful city of Damsport.

But the real strength of the book is in its characters. Longinus and Rory leapt off the page for me. They were both complex, fully developed charac
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic, and highly recommended. Gorgeous writing, a beautifully-described world, and characters who were endearing, occasionally irritating (when the author meant for them to be), and totally fascinating. This is one of the best independently-published books I've had the pleasure of reading, and I do love me some indie books.

I started reading this on my Kindle, then stopped at chapter nine so I could order the paperback and finish it that way. It's that good, and I knew I'd want a

This book was unique, for sure. It's steampunk all the way and some of the descriptions are very interesting and will grip you.

One of our main characters is an 18-year-old urchin who looks and acts like a 14-year-old.
The other is a dandy assassin with a love for poetry, who cannot stand not being dressed properly or the sight of blood.

This Viper character is an odd one indeed. He kills people but only with poison he makes himself and claims no one does it
Bard Constantine
There's a lot to like about the story. The character of Longinus is genius, as I've never encountered a cowardly dandy as an assassin before. It breathes life in the grim, raspy-voiced archetype and provides a refreshingly different take. His constant fussing over clothes and poetic phrases never gets old, although he might pinch the bridge of his nose too much.

Rory has more difficulty escaping the street-smart urchin stereotype, but that doesn't make her character any less enjoyable. Although t
Jenny Koch
Love the premise of this book - a clever, blackmailing street urchin mets a foppish, melodramatic assassin with a fear of blood. It had an odd flow at points but overall I loved the characters and their interactions enough to make up for that. No romance at this stage (and I'm not sure if there will ever be any - particularly between the titular characters but I'm ok with that). ...more
Gwynn White
I have just met a new favourite author with a new set of favourite characters! I just loved this fun story with its quirky characters. Even better, it had me laughing out loud more than a few times. Can't wait for the next in the series. ...more
Ellen E. Baldwin (Quest Reviews)
This book came to my attention when the author emailed me, saying she’d seen that I’d reviewed and liked Lindsay Buroker’s self-published Emperor’s Edge series, and would I be interested in reviewing her own book, which held similarities to Buroker’s work?

Well. As an utter fanatic of The Emperor’s Edge and its sequels, I search ceaselessly for books that recapture Buroker’s style and magic. Of course, I wrote the author back, saying yes, please send me your book! At once! — I mentally added.

Barb Taub
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was thinking of the three sliding variants of character development—competence, proactivity, and sympathy—as I read The Viper and the Urchin, author Celine Jeanjean’s debut novel. Based on the blurb, I agreed to do a review, but I was nervous. Her novel had a terrific premise—a master assassin who can’t handle the sight of blood—and was in the steampunk/fantasy genre I love. I needn’t have worried.

From my email:

FROM: Barb
TO: Celine
I just had to tell you… I have a TON of other books ahead of Th
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The blurb for this steampunk fantasy caught me. An elegant assassin that can't stand the sight of blood and a blackmailing, grammatically incorrect urchin. Really, I could not resist! The story of assassin Longinus and urchin Rory should not be resisted. I started and finished The Viper and the Urchin on the same day.

Longinus is an amazingly written character. As an assassin, he thinks himself quite elegant and dapper. Although he knows how to use a sword, he abhors the use of blades in the ass
E.D. Martin
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fans of Lindsay Buroker's Emperor's Edge series will notice right away that The Viper and the Urchin is the story of an assassin, but that’s where the similarities end. Longinus kills not for the thrill or for politics, but for notoriety. It’s all about his stylish reputation – so of course he’s appalled when a common street thief, Rory, not only has to help him with a job, but learns he’s actually afraid of blood. Rory wants to be a warrior swordswoman and when she realizes Longinus is great wi ...more
Elizabeth Lloyd
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Viper and the Urchin is a rollicking good tale which grabs you by the collar and sweeps you through the grimy streets of Damsport with humour and nail-biting danger. Its heroine, Rory, is a small scrawny urchin, scraping a living by theft and deception, who makes an unlikely alliance with the elegant Viper, an assassin who uses only poison on his victims and takes pride in his art.

When Longinus, the Viper, questions Rory’s behaviour, “You are coarse, you swear, and worse, you are grammatical
Lori L MacLaughlin
The Viper and the Urchin was one of my first steampunk fantasy reads, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The two main characters, Longinus and Rory, drew me into the story and kept me reading. Longinus, the Viper, is an arrogant assassin who specializes in poisons because he can't stand the sight of blood. Rory, the streetwise urchin who dreams of becoming a heroic swordswoman, learns about Longinus' fear of blood and hatches the idea of blackmailing him into teaching her swordsmanship.

I liked Rory's
Jessie Stevens
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
"It was always a pleasure to kill..."

...begins the book as it launches into a long and ominous description of an assassin, The Viper, and the nefarious activity he is on his way to perform. And then he thinks to himself,

"Is it really too much to ask that the common dockworker experience a faint malaise in my presence? Obviously."

and I smiled because, suddenly, the Viper looked like someone I was really going to enjoy!

It turns out that The Viper is a lovable, sarcastic, pompous jerk of a man.
Rebecca England
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book had me smiling throughout, laughing out loud at times but most importantly itching to read the next page and delve deep into my Kindle night after night. I won't labour on the story and synopsis as there are sufficient other reviews which go into more detail however I will say that I think the author has developed a superb world and story - one which transported me, right there in the moment I was reading, into each and every scene and its accompanying smells, sounds and places.
Both th
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first steampunk novel I have ever read, and I have to say I was very nervous. I didn't know what to expect, but I must truly say I enjoyed this novel immensely. Right away, I saw that this book is incredibly well thought out and written. I absolutely loved the characters. They have some of the strangest and most lively personalities I have ever come across, and I long to read more as soon as I can.

I recommend this book to anyone who is into a good assassin story and anyone who is bor
Denise Young
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really good, fast-paced read. I liked Rory (the urchin) right away. She was spunky, clever, and street-smart, and she really jumped off the page. I wasn't sure I would like Longinus--I mean, he's an assassin--but he grew on me too, and soon I was rooting for them both. There are some wonderful plot twists that kept me guessing what would happen next, and the ending was clever and unexpected. The characters are vivid, distinct, and well-drawn and the writing is strong. Definitely recommend. ...more
Series Info/Source: This is the first book in The Viper and the Urchin series. Right now there are six books in this series. I borrowed this book for Kindle through Kindle Unlimited.

Story (3/5): This story starts out pretty slow, things don’t actually get moving until about 50% through the story and then the action is non-stop. This is about an assassin named the Viper and a young urchin named Rory. When Rory helps out the Viper, she finds out his most embarrassing secret. Rory ends up blackmail
Brit Andrews
By night Longinus is The Viper, an infamous very stylish master assassin. By day he is a just as stylish gentleman of exacting tastes and standards. He can whip up a poison to kill you in various ways but his deepest darkest secret is that though he comes from a family of assassins he has a sever case of hemophobia. One night when a job goes unplanned his biggest secret is revealed to a witness very willing to blackmail him to get what she wants...

Rory is a street urchin with one dream: to becom
Dec 27, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
UGH. What a let down. I'd been stalking this book through UPS all last week waiting for it show up on my doorstep, but now, I'm just so terribly disappointed. I thought this book would revive my love for fantasy, but unfortunately that's not the case. I could only read the first 100 pages before I had to give up. This does not compare to my precious Emperor's Edge in the slightest. This just isn't for me, but at least I tried. The cover will look pretty on my shelf I guess. I'll try to do an act ...more
Kaylin Beach
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It was always a pleasure to kill."

The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean was not what I expected at all. This book went above and beyond my expectations and I was easily swept up into Celine's characters and her world. The Bloodless Assassin is full of secrets, betrayal, friendship, mysteries, and death. While reading, there was not a single moment that I found myself bored or uninterested. This book is one exciting adventure/mystery after another!

My first impression of this book was that it
Silvia Weyland
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fun, imaginative, clever and well-written. My first impression of The Viper and The Urchin is that it doesn't feel like a first novel. The author has conjured a world that is magical and believable at the same time, rich in detail and sensory experience: while I was reading it I could feel the heat, the rain, the smells and the sounds of the city of Damsport as if I were there. And many times I wished I was. The Viper and the Urchin is the first of a series of novels centered around Longinus "th ...more
Rosie Amber
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Bloodless Assassin is book #1 in The Viper and The Urchin series and has been re-launched under its new title. I felt this book was a mix of fantasy and steampunk.

The Viper is Damsport's deadliest assassin, but he also a poet, a writer and an alchemist. However he has a serious flaw, he can't stand the sight or smell of blood, which is why his chosen weapon is poison.

Rory is a teenage girl, a street urchin and thief. For two years she has been saving all her money to pay to be Master Xian's
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a steampunk fantasy with lots of mystery thrown in the mix and a spot of politics for good measure. The book sounded intriguing but something I would not normally pick up and read, and I was pleasantly surprised.

This story is quite unique and contains interesting characters. The two main protagonists are Longinus, known as The Viper, who is both a poet and an assassin who has a phobia of blood, and he is also a bit
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
Great book - brilliantly written. Looking forward to more work from the author.
Larry Myers
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really good book

This was a surprise. Fafhrd and the gray mouser and their stories come to mind. I look forward to more and have bought the second book. LAMyers
alan l jarbeau
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Assassin unable to stand the sight of blood. Really ,that's like a vampire being afraid of the dark!

I am becoming quite a fan of streamline novel's, and this novel has definitely succeeded in my continued interest in this genre. The novel takes place in Damsport reminiscent of medieval London to an extent. Longinus, the assassin who is secretly known as the Viper who concocts all manner of poison's to use as a means of disposing of his victims thus avoiding having to view even the slightest bit
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Celine Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now she travels the world as a nomadic writer. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her travels she's watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.

Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, set in wondrous worlds.

Other books in the series

The Viper and the Urchin (9 books)
  • Black Orchid (The Viper and the Urchin, #2)
  • Slave City (The Viper and the Urchin #3)
  • Doll Maker (The Viper and the Urchin #4)
  • White Hornet (The Viper and the Urchin #5)
  • The Shadow Palace (The Viper and the Urchin #6)
  • The Opium Smuggler (The Viper and the Urchin #7)
  • The Veiled War (The Viper and the Urchin #8)
  • The Rising Rooks (The Viper and the Urchin #9)

News & Interviews

When it comes to the romance genre, second books can be a bit like second dates, can't they? You've had that great initial meet-cute with...
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“Yes, yes, I won’t touch anything. More to the point, someone wants to kill me and take your place as the Viper, right, so do you really think the state of your moustache is important right now?” “You have a lot to learn about the world,” he called back as he climbed the stairs. “The state of my moustache has never been more important.” 2 likes
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