The Viper and the Urchin Full Series Book Stack
The Viper and the Urchin Full Series Book Stack
The Viper and the Urchin Full Series Book Stack

The Viper and the Urchin Full Series Book Stack

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The complete, 9 book book stack of the quirky steampunk fantasy series. Only available in this store.

Enter the richly-imagined tropical world of Damsport and dive into rollicking adventures that are packed with unforgettable characters and snappy dialogue, served up with lashes of humour.

DESCRIPTION OF BOOK 1: The Bloodless Assassin

As a skinny, dreadlocked girl who grew up on the street making her living as a pickpocket, Rory isn’t exactly a prime candidate for swordmasters to take on as a student.

Especially since she can’t pay them.

So what’s a girl to do when she dreams of becoming a great sword fighter and adventurer?

Blackmail an assassin into taking her as an apprentice, that’s what.

Things don’t go according to plan, though.

Rory’s new master, Longinus, has more eccentricities than a stray dog has fleas and he’s so frustrating to deal with, she frequently wants to bang her head against a brick wall.

They have to put their arguments aside, though, when they both find themselves targeted by a plot aiming to destroy the city.

Now not only does Rory have to figure out how to keep herself and Longinus alive, she also has to stop the conspiracy.

An impossible task? It’s even harder with Longinus under the delusion that he’s the hero of the story. That would be funny, if it didn't make Rory want to throttle him.

Follow along with Rory and Longinus’s unlikely friendship and see how on earth the two misfits get themselves out of trouble.

Grab the complete series now.

 Book Stack 9 paperbacks
Product Weight 2.87 kg
Language English
Series The Viper and the Urchin

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

Print books are printed in our facilites in the UK and in the US, this takes 3-5 days after which they are expedited. Shipping times will then depend on your location.

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Rory congratulated herself on her timing. She and Jake had just reached the end of the lane, and peering around the corner, she could see the mark a few yards away. He was a trader with a belly that hung over his belt and a self-satisfied air. She could already tell how pleased with himself he would look when he stepped in to save the poor, scrawny urchin girl from a beating.


She counted down silently with her fingers. Three, two, one.

Rory launched herself into the trader’s path with a shriek. Startled, the man jumped back just as Jake burst into the street, his face contorted into a perfectly fearsome mask.

He grabbed Rory with his paddle-sized hands, lifting her off the ground.

“Help!” she screamed, kicking her legs in the air, careful to miss Jake.

Jake drew back a meaty hand as though to strike her. She screeched again, waiting for the mark to react. Any moment now, he would step forward, his face a sneer, his rapier drawn, and he would tell Jake to ‘let the girl go.’
Jake snarled and raised his hand farther behind him. Rory cowered in his grasp.

“Please not again, please no, please…” she gabbled.

The target stood aside, gawking, as though seagulls had pecked out his brains.

“Teach you to try and run away,” Jake grunted.
Still nothing.


Rory had picked a dud.

Nothing for it, Jake was going to have to follow through and hit her or the game would be up.

Jake’s hand came down in a wide arc, just catching her cheek. Rory let her head snap to one side, howling to make it seem more painful than it was. Still the merchant stood watching. She cursed under her breath. If he was going to be cowardly, the least he could do was leave and be cowardly somewhere else so they could end this charade.
Jake raised his hand again.

“Not so fast now.”

At last, the melodious sound of a rapier being pulled out of its scabbard. The trader pointed his blade at Jake.

“Put the girl down.”

“Not your goddamned business,” Jake grunted.

“I’ve just made it my business. Put her down.”

Jake glowered ever so convincingly at the man, and he let Rory drop to the ground. She made a show of collapsing onto the cobblestones before scrambling up towards the trader.

“Now go.” The man raised his chin haughtily behind his rapier.

Jake grunted again and skulked off down the lane from which they had come, making it look all the more narrow as he squeezed his massive frame through it.

“Thank you, sir, oh thank you!” Rory grabbed the trader’s distended waistcoat as she pulled herself up. “I been trying to escape for months, sir, months!” She squeezed out a few tears for good measure and sniffled loudly.

“Now see here—” the trader began.

“I got no one, sir,” Rory interrupted, still clinging to him as though she was drowning, and he was the last plank of wood left in the world. “I’m an orphan and all alone, my family died.” At this, she began to wail loudly.

The trader extricated himself from her clutching fingers, his philanthropic aspirations rapidly vanishing. “There, there…I’m sorry but, er, I can’t do anything for you. I’m only passing through Damsport, you see.”

That was a lie—he was clearly a Damsian.

“Please, sir!” She wailed louder, clutching at him faster than he could remove her hands. Her fingers felt his purse, and she was delighted to find that it was as fat as he was.
“Now see here,” said the trader. “I have to leave… My ship… Will you just…get off!”

He gave her a shove, and she staggered back, the purse vanishing into one of her pockets. She gave the trader a forlorn look, cutting a pathetic figure in her rags, mess of rope-like hair, and snotty nose — the gods be thanked for her ability to sniffle on demand.

The trader hurried away without looking back.
When he had turned the corner, Rory spat once on the cobblestones.


Saving the girl always worked, but no one wanted to actually save the girl. They only wanted that brief moment of glory when they pointed their rapier at Jake. That was fine by Rory. They just had to pay the price of their purse for the privilege of feeling like a hero for a few minutes.
She hurried after Jake, grinning. He was waiting for her at the rendezvous point.

With an exaggerated flourish, she pulled out the purse she had lifted and dangled it next to her ear.

“It speaks to me… It says…half coins inside!”

Jake grinned. “Give it here.”

She threw it at him and he hefted it appreciatively as they walked. “That’s got a good few coin bits in it.” He felt the purse between his fingers. “I think I feel a couple of whole ’uns too.”

“Yeah, a good taking.”

“Aye. Plenty more than you need.”

Rory nodded and her stomach briefly knotted with excitement and nerves. It had been two years of scrimping and saving, and despite getting robbed twice by muggers in the rare moments she worked without Jake, she could finally meet Master Xian’s price with a little to spare.

Jake threw her the purse, and she squirrelled it away in one of her many pockets, surprised at how nervous she was now that her lifelong ambition was about to become reality. She would leave with Master Xian, the most famed sword preceptor in Damsport and travel with him as his pupil and assistant. It was so close she could almost taste the salty spray that would spatter her face once they were out at sea.

“What time’s the steam galley again?” asked Jake.

“I’m to meet Master Xian at six at the Starry Inn.”

“Plenty of time. What say you to a celebratory pint?”

“Don’t think I could drink right now,” she said. “Stomach’s doing all sorts of flipping.”

“Suit yourself.”

They continued walking in a comfortable silence, punctuated only by the tinkle of the talismans that hung around Rory’s neck, a hangover from her days of begging at the temples.

“You sure you want to leave?” asked Jake. “We got a good thing going here.”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“You never told me what the big deal is with learning to fight with swords, you know.”

Rory shrugged with all the nonchalance she could muster. It had been ten years since she had met the Scarred Woman, and she had never breathed a word of it to anyone. Not even to Jake. The years had washed the woman’s features from her memory, but to this day Rory could still picture how her rapier had gleamed, how smooth and fast her movements had been, and how easily she had despatched that giant of a man. Rare was the night when Rory didn’t dream she was the Scarred Woman.

“Just something I’ve always wanted to do, that’s all.” She kicked a piece of unidentifiable rotten fruit out of the way.

The truth was that it consumed her. She thought of little else — all she wanted was to be a warrior, a hero, like the Scarred Woman. She was also well aware of how ridiculous that ambition was, coming from her. She had been sixteen for about two years now — not knowing exactly how old she was, she picked whatever age suited her — and although she knew her real age was probably around eighteen, she was still small enough to pass for fourteen.

And a scrawny fourteen-year-old at that.

The reaction of the last sword preceptor she had approached before Master Xian was still as fresh as ever in her mind. The woman had laughed. A big belly laugh, as though Rory’s dreams were a joke. Rory clenched her fists at the memory. The sword preceptor had shooed her away like all the others, and her apprentice had given Rory a good kick up the arse that had sent her sprawling out the door and into the gutter.

“Gutter rats don’t wield rapiers,” the lad had said before slamming the door.

Master Xian hadn’t laughed. He had simply named an eye-watering price.

“You still gonna be a cobbler?” she asked Jake, to change the subject.

“I reckon so,” he replied. “My Da was a damned good cobbler, and I remember some.”

“Well, when I’m a famous hero, I’ll come to you and only you to fix my boots.”

Jake grinned. “Aye, and I’ll only rip you off by half.”

Rory punched him on the arm. “Yeah right. You’d rob me blind if I let you.”


They reached the chaotic warren of lanes that was the Rookery, and the air became thicker, full of the cloying stench of mould and decay. Banyan trees poked out randomly from streets and houses, their roots crawling through the cobblestones, their dead leaves and inedible fruits covered in guano, rotting on the ground. Shacks were built resting against their trunks, some turned into little stalls from which cobblers, minor-repair machinists, and other small tradesmen operated. Men, women, and children milled about the streets, calling, shouting, fighting, hawking wares, and arguing, their voices louder than the seagulls.

Rory and Jake walked past houses that sagged on rain-saturated wooden frames; only a few had been able to afford the conversion to steelwood beams. Some covered their beams with tar, and the rest made do with houses that sweated and rotted under the weight of the humidity.

Rory waved and called out greetings while Jake stayed silent, only pushing the low-hanging laundry lines out of his way. He had never been one for social niceties. Rory, on the other hand, understood the importance of having friends.

The kind of friends who, if you asked after her, would say, ‘Rory? Never ’eard of her. Not seen anyone like that in these parts. You must be thinking of some other girl.’ Those kinds of friends were invaluable, especially when you were in the business of relieving people of their belongings.

Rory and Jake reached a deserted lane that was more rotten than the rest, and they made their way to a solitary house, its neighbours little more than a pile of rubble overtaken by banyan trees. One side of the house had caved in so that it looked lopsided, like an old man after a stroke. A banyan tree had sprouted on what was left of the roof, its web of roots stretching down what remained of the house’s front like a caul.

Rory went in first. Inside, there was no first floor to speak of — only a few beams remained. She found the familiar footholds on the wall and began to climb towards the yawning hole in the roof.

When she reached the top, she walked carefully along an exposed beam until she reached a single black steelwood pillar that stuck out of the house’s side like a finger. A thick coil of rope was tied to it, and she threw it down to Jake.

Jake lifted himself up the rope easily, the muscles on his bare arms bulging under his brown skin. Rory left him to it, making her way over to their little shelter by the banyan tree. It had taken them a couple of years to build something that could withstand the summer storms, and while the current effort didn’t look like much, it kept out wind and water.

Rory walked past the shelter and lifted up a couple of tiles, uncovering a niche that held two fat purses. She took them out, checked their weight, and sat down cross-legged with the purses between her legs to keep them from rolling away. Jake heaved himself up, pulled the rope with him, and came to sit next to her. He picked up his purse, hefted it with one hand, and his normally ugly features broke into a delighted grin.

“That’s a good bit of coinage, that is.”

Rory began counting out the day’s takings. Some silver bits, a couple of half coppers and half silvers, five full coppers, and a single, beautifully whole and shiny silver. Rory held it up with an appreciative whistle. It was almost perfectly round, if you squinted and ignored where the edges had been shaved or clipped.

The process of sharing out the loot began. They each carefully weighed the coins, gradually creating two equal shares. So many currencies flowed through Damsport that Damsians had resorted to using coin weights for their currency, weighing copper, silver and gold, and cutting coins into smaller pieces when making change. Jake and Rory didn’t waste money on coin scales, instead estimating coin weights with their fingers. It worked well enough, since they both always checked every weight, never trusting each other. They argued over the splitting of the loot until they both agreed the weights of silver and copper felt equal.

“Coming to the Old Girl’s Arms, then?” Jake asked, carefully putting his coin pieces away.

“Nah, told you, don’t have the stomach for it. Gonna wait here until it’s time.”

“Come on, don’t be boring, come for a drink. My treat. Old time’s sake and all that.”

Rory hesitated. She knew it would be fun to go to the Old Girl’s Arms and chew the fat with Jake, but she couldn’t risk being late and missing the steam galley. With Jake it was never just the one drink.

“Not gonna risk it,” she replied. “You could wait with me, though. Escort me to the docks, make the most of my sparkling conversation while you can, and all that.” She winked.

“Your conversation would be a hell of a lot more sparkly if I could experience it with a pint of cider in my hand.” Jake stood up, pocketed the purse, and stretched, his back cracking like the knees of an old supplicant. “Gods’ breath, that feels good!”

“The purse or the stretch?”

“Both.” He grinned. “Come on —” He nudged Rory with his boot. “Come to the Old Girl’s Arms. Just one, and that’s a promise.”

Rory was tempted — if anything, it would steady her nerves before her adventures began.

“Well…alright. Maybe one.”

“Atta girl! Reckon you’ll see something real special, too. I feel a lucky streak coming on.”

“Hold on — you’re going gambling?”

“Just a little flutter. I got plenty to spare” — Jake patted the pocket containing the purse — “and I’m pretty sure today’s gonna be my day.”

“Seriously? Jake, how many times you got to lose everything for it to register in your thick head that nobody’s ever lucky with cards? Anyone would think you wanted to be poor for the rest of your life.”

A chill settled despite the sweltering midday heat. Jake didn’t reply, looking sulkily at the ground. Rory looked away, frustrated with his stubbornness and annoyed at herself for lecturing him when she was about to leave.

The silence stretched on, heavy and uncomfortable.

“Well, I guess that means you’re not coming,” Jake said at last, breaking the silence, “so I’ll see you when I see you.”

He patted her awkwardly on the shoulder and turned away. Rory’s stomach lurched. This wasn’t how she had wanted to part ways. She tried to think of something to say, but no words came to her. Jake disappeared down into the ruined house.

She stared at the space where he had been for a moment, a tight feeling in her chest. Of course she was still excited to leave and become an adventurer. Of course. But dammit if she wasn’t sad now, too.

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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