The Doll Maker - The Viper and the Urchin #4
The Doll Maker - The Viper and the Urchin #4
The Doll Maker - The Viper and the Urchin #4

The Doll Maker - The Viper and the Urchin #4

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Revolution in the streets.
A deadly weapon stolen.
A wardrobe too wide to fit up the stairs.
All is most definitely not well back in Damsport…

Cruikshank has created a deadly new weapon, but someone breaks into her workshop, steals the design, and leaves her for dead.

Time for Rory and Longinus to roll up their sleeves again.

But it doesn’t take long for them to be completely out of their depth. They find themselves facing a creepy doll maker, chaos in the streets, and a powerful man seeking to overthrow the Old Girl. In short, another sinister plot seeking to bring Damsport to its knees.

Once again, Rory and Longinus find themselves the city’s last line of defence.

really needs to invest in better defences.

🔥Delve into The Doll Maker, book 4 of a complete 9 book series that’s packed with adventure, banter, and quirky characters, all set in a richly imagined tropical world.

🔥Ebooks are delivered instantly via Bookfunnel email to the email address provided at checkout.

 Paperback Edition 398 pages
ISBN 9782492523113
Product Dimensions 5 x 8 x 0.9 inches (12.7 x 20.3 x 2.2cm)
Language English
Publication Date 27th April 2019
Publisher Celine Jeanjean
Series The Viper and the Urchin #4

Ebooks are delivered instantly via Bookfunnel email to the email address provided at checkout.

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It was part of life’s fickle nature that no sooner was one problem solved than another took its place. Longinus had spent oodles of time finding a suitable house for him and Rory to rent, to say nothing of the effort required to convince her that she should sleep within the house and not on the roof. He displayed a perfect mix of cunning and persuasion along with enough saintly patience to put the most devout monk to shame.

When Rory finally agreed to move out of Cruikshank’s workshop, she insisted that she and Longinus split the rent equally. And while Longinus knew she had a bit of money, given the salary the Marchioness paid her, he didn’t want her to spend too much of it on rent. He told her a figure far below what the house was actually worth.

Even then, she spluttered at the cost, immediately suggesting they search for a bargain in the Rookery. It had then taken yet more cunning, persuasion, and saintly patience to dissuade her of that idea.

The mere thought of living in the Rookery still made Longinus shudder.

So after all that hard work with Rory, he should by rights have been enjoying the fruits of his labour in the form of a perfectly appointed house in a nice neighbourhood, far from the noise and mess of Cruikshank’s workshop.

But alas, life could never be smooth for long, and his enjoyment of the new house had to be postponed, given the latest crisis rearing its ugly head.

“Careful,” Longinus called up, watching two movers grunting as they tried to heave his precious wardrobe up the stairs. “Careful!” He winced as one of the wardrobe’s feet came precariously close to the varnished teak bannister.

“Who the hell… has a solid-teak wardrobe that size… that doesn’t break down into parts?” one of the movers grunted as he and the other man tried for the third time to negotiate the bend in the stairs.

“Someone with taste,” Longinus replied, sucking air through his teeth as the wardrobe once again came close enough to the teak bannister to shave it.

It was fair to say that Longinus’s relationship with his carpenter hadn’t progressed on the best of terms. Something about the man not appreciating Longinus’s razor-sharp attention to detail or his very specific instructions.

Longinus failed to see what the problem was in having a client who liked to keep an eye on how his furniture was made. And surely, the carpenter should have been grateful for the many, many suggestions Longinus had put forth during the process. He was only trying to help, after all.

But no, apparently the man’s pride was too prickly to accept that someone without carpentering skills could have useful input. As a result, the carpenter had purposefully built the wardrobe in a way that wouldn’t allow for it to be taken apart. Longinus knew this was no accident, because when he’d seen the wardrobe on delivery, he’d rushed over to demand why it couldn’t be taken apart.

“Because you didn’t specify it,” the carpenter had replied, smirking.

Longinus could have poisoned him there and then. He was only held back by a sense of professionalism. Assassins didn’t just poison on a whim to relieve their anger.

But now he faced a solid-teak wardrobe of significant size and a bend in his staircase of less-than-significant size.

The challenge of wedging the former through the latter was proving difficult to surmount.

Longinus hissed in almost physical pain as the movers once again heaved the wardrobe up, attempting a new angle, and one of its legs gouged a hole in the sage-and-duck-egg-blue wallpaper.

“My wallpaper,” he groaned. It had cost him a small fortune.

The movers grunted and swore, sweat pouring off their bare chests. They shoved the wardrobe up and forward on top of the curved bannister. Longinus heard a crack, and he buried his face in his hands, unable to work out if he was more upset about the wardrobe or the bannister, given that both were teak.

“Go back, go back,” one of the movers said, wheezing from the effort.

They began pulling the wardrobe backwards, but it was wedged in. Longinus pictured himself forced to either live in a house with stairs blocked by a huge wardrobe or use an axe to hack through the problem.

The patience of a saint… I have the patience of a saint…
“Ahem,” came a voice behind him along with a knock at the open front door.

Longinus turned around to find a nervous-looking young man standing in the doorway, holding a parcel.

“I have a delivery?” the young man said, looking uncertainly at the staircase. “The Enchanter’s Breath, from Fetter and Waft, renowned purveyors of household finery for the discerning gentleman.” The delivery boy recited the whole thing in one breath and one tone. He swallowed. “It’s my first day,” he added awkwardly. “Do I just…” He thrust the parcel at Longinus.

“Why don’t you bring it here.” Longinus ushered the delivery boy to the sitting room and had him deposit the parcel on a desk. The lad gawked at the sitting room, obviously unused to such surroundings.

Longinus paid the lad and sent him on his way, but he didn’t return to the wardrobe crisis right away. Instead he indulged himself by unwrapping his parcel, careful not to tear the pretty sea-green paper.

Much as Longinus was delighted to have managed to convince Rory to live in a proper house, he felt some trepidation at the idea of cohabitating with her. Longinus liked his interiors just so, and Rory didn’t quite…fit with that vision.

One of his greatest concerns was her tendency to track foul smells on the soles of her boots. More than once she’d returned to Cruikshank’s workshop, grinning from ear to ear, rattling out some story, while stinking the place up from having trodden in the gods only knew what back at the Rookery.

At least now that the girl had grown used to washing regularly, she had stopped stinking. But just to be safe, Longinus had ordered several of the Enchanter’s Breath devices, which emitted a perfumed steam that neutralised unfortunate smells.

He finished unwrapping the parcel, setting out the devices on the desk. He would tinker with them so they would diffuse his own formula for neutralising smells. Maybe also come up with a signature perfume. A man of his calibre should really have a signature scent—he had been remiss in not attending to this before. It should be a fun bit of alchemy.

The thought of alchemy had Longinus’s eyes drifting over to the pile of heavy alchemical tomes he’d received earlier in the day. On top of securing a house for him and Rory to live in, he’d been hard at work on an alchemical treatment to counteract his phobia of blood. The books would allow him to apprise himself of the latest cutting-edge alchemical developments to help him refine his initial work.

He sighed with yearning. If not for the crisis taking place in his stairwell, he would have made himself a cup of excellent coffee, sat himself down in his newly acquired ebony-and-velvet armchair, and perused the books at his leisure in the soothing calm of a tastefully decorated and well-appointed sitting room. Maybe even set up one of the Enchanter’s Breath to test the perfume provided with the device.

As if to remind him of their presence, the movers shouted. There was the worrying crash of something large and heavy coming into contact with an immovable object such as a wall.

Longinus took a deep breath. He gave his sitting room a final look—the palette of muted turquoise and deep greens really had been an excellent choice—and he returned to the disaster in his stairs.

Chunks of plaster and strips of wallpaper had been torn from the wall. A scattering of white plaster dusted the bottom-right corner of the wardrobe as the movers struggled to get it back down.

Through an almost superhuman effort of will, Longinus remained calm as he watched their slow, awkward progress.

They returned the wardrobe to the entrance of the house. “You’ll have to keep this on the ground floor,” one of the movers said, wiping his sodden brow with a sinew-corded forearm.

The other mover had his hands on his knees, leaning over and breathing heavily, sweat dripping from his forehead onto the parquet floor. Longinus made a mental note to tell the maid to clean the corridor. Then he remembered that Rory wasn’t supposed to know he’d hired a maid.
Another problem to deal with later.

He pushed the thoughts away, returning to his wardrobe and the mover’s suggestion. “Impossible. A wardrobe on the ground floor? What else—a kitchen on the upper floor? A roof in the basement? Please suggest a less ridiculous solution.”

The man gave him an odd look.

“We could try getting it in through the upstairs window,” the other mover said, straightening up. “It looked wide enough.”
The first man nodded. “We could. It’ll cost you extra, though. We have a winching system that we can install on your roof to hoist the wardrobe up and then hopefully get it through the window.”

“That will be fine,” Longinus said. “At this point, cost is no object.”

“Great. See you tomorrow.”

Both men headed out the open front door.

“Um, excuse me?” Longinus called, hurrying after them.

“Tomorrow? I cannot have a wardrobe in my entrance tonight. I assumed you would get it upstairs today.”

“We’re beat,” one of the movers said. “We’ll come back tomorrow with the equipment.”

“I’d be happy to compensate you for your time,” Longinus said, producing a few coins.

“Thank you,” the mover replied, taking the coins. “Could do with a few beers after all that.”

“So you’ll come back today?” Longinus asked.

“No. I told you, we’re done for the day.”

“But I just paid you extra.”

“And much appreciated it is. But that don’t change the fact that we’re beat. We’ll come back tomorrow.”

“But… but… I cannot have a wardrobe in the entrance on the day that I move into my new home,” Longinus spluttered.

“Then you shouldn’t have bought something so massive that can’t even be taken apart,” the mover replied with infuriating logic.

Longinus pinched the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes.

The patience of a saint… the patience of a saint…

He should have been putting the final few touches on the house so that by the time Rory arrived, it would all be perfect. A wardrobe plonked in front of the staircase was as far from perfection as the great gash torn in the staircase wallpaper.

“Oh dear,” a familiar voice said. “I’m sensing a crisis.”

Longinus opened his eyes to find Rory looking distinctly amused. She wore her usual fighting leathers, perfectly tailored—his contribution—but heavily stained, scuffed, and scratched from their last adventure in Azyr. Her hair was a thick mass of ropelike segments dwarfing her diminutive frame, and her unusual blue eyes sparkled with mirth.

“Please oblige me by removing that look from your face at once,” Longinus said.

“What look?” she asked, all mock innocence.

“Don’t push me, Rory,” Longinus said, his voice growing dangerous.

“Fine, fine. What’s got you all in a tizzy, then? Wallpaper? Furniture? You know, we could have just rented one of them set of pre-furnished rooms in the Rookery. Would have been much easier, and cheaper, too.”

“Rory, I will not have this argument again. Your refusal to understand the importance of a gentleman owning his furniture is nothing short of abysmal and infuriating. I have faced what can only be described as a major crisis that has completely derailed today’s plan for moving into the house, and I won’t have you pouring salt into the wound by blathering on about the Rookery again!”

“Alright, alright. Jeez,” Rory said, raising her hands to pacify him.

Longinus shook his head, his anger evaporating. Not only was the wardrobe a disaster, but he was also losing it with Rory on the very day she was supposed to move into the house. Getting her to this moment had been every bit as difficult as coaxing a badger out of its set. He was suddenly worried that he might have undone all his good work by snapping at her.

What if she decided she wanted to go back to living on the roofs after all?

Rory stepped into the house. “Ah. My amazing sense of observation spots the problem, I reckon. Quite a big varnished problem with—stone the gulls, Longinus, is that gold?”

“Gold inlay,” Longinus said. “And yes. It goes perfectly with the colour palette of my room.”

Rory looked up at the stairs, then at the great tear in the wall, then back at the wardrobe. “See, when you only got one set of clothes, no chance your wardrobe’s gonna get stuck on the ground floor.”

Longinus glowered at her. “Continue this line of thought, and I’ll remind you that the dead have no need of clothes.”

Rory laughed and moved around the wardrobe to the bottom of the stairs. There was an awkward pause.
“Your bedroom upstairs is furnished,” Longinus said encouragingly, forgetting all his earlier frustrations.

This was the moment he had worked so hard for. For all Rory’s infuriatingly nonsensical views on houses and furniture, Longinus really wanted her to feel happy and settled in the house. He knew full well what an alien concept having her own home would be for her.

“Furniture and all, eh?” Rory said with a nervous smile. “That’ll be a change.”

She took a breath and climbed the steps. Longinus hoped he had gotten her bedroom furnishing right. He didn’t want some blunder—too many cushions, for example—to spook the girl and send her running back to the rooftops.

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Hi! I'm Celine

I write different flavours of fantasy with a twist, but always with one uniting thread: quirky, flawed characters and heart-warming found families.

My books span the sub-genres of steampunk (but set in a secondary, tropical world) urban fantasy (set in Asia and London) and gothic gaslamp fantasy.

I'm French, grew up in the UK, and for the last few years I've been living a life of nomadic adventure, exploring the world with my laptop as my constant companion. My adventures have been a great source of inspiration for my stories.

These days I'm trying to figure out where in the world I might stop and setup some bookshelves.

I love to hear from readers, so feel free to contact me at

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