The Black Orchid: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure (The Viper and the Urchin Book 2) steampunk buy now online

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The Black Orchid: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure (The Viper and the Urchin Book 2)

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The Black Orchid: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure (The Viper and the Urchin Book 2)

A couple of months after Rory and Longinus saved the Old Girl, they’re trying to settle into the honest life of being in her employ. Unfortunately, Rory is bored with nothing to steal, and Longinus finds living in Cruikshank’s workshop insufferable, what with the sub-par coffee and lack of suitable clothing.

When an old friend of Rory’s is found exsanguinated, Rory and Longinus fear that Myran has returned. To make matters more delicate, an important diplomat is visiting Damsport, and her death would make the city vulnerable to attack from Airnia, so the Old Girl tasks Rory and Longinus with uncovering and stopping whatever is going on.

As they investigate, clues lead them to the Black Orchid, a new brothel in town where the clientele has a tendency to vanish. But when the diplomat’s bodyguard is found dead outside the Black Orchid, Rory and Longinus find themselves framed as the masterminds behind the whole operation. To clear their names and save the city, they’ll have to solve the mystery of the Black Orchid before Myran catches up to them.

Living an honest life turned out to be far more complicated than they’d expected.

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3 Responses to " The Black Orchid: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure (The Viper and the Urchin Book 2) "

  1. Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Action and adventure with a heroine who is a tough cookie., 25 April 2016
    By 

    This review is from: The Black Orchid: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure (The Viper and the Urchin Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
    The second adventure of the Viper and the Urchin finds these two disparate characters relocated to the warehouse of Cruikshank, engineer to the Marchioness, no longer an assassin and a pickpocket, but officially employed by the Old Girl, as the Marchioness is affectionately called. But their services have not been required and they are feeling aimless and redundant when at last they are summoned to investigate a mysterious death by exsanguination in the insalubrious Bayog district of the city of Damsport.

    Rory’s knowledge of the criminal underworld of the Rookery make her indispensable but Longinus occupies his time investigating the unexplained shortage of the black silk he needs urgently for his new elegant suit. A link between these two events is discovered in The Black Orchid, a newly popular brothel. Rory and Longinus find themselves in great danger again, not just from their enemy but also from threats to their relationship. As they become estranged, the future looks grim.

    Like the first book, The Black Orchid engages readers by the strong, vibrant women who never give up against all odds. An old relationship between the Marchioness and stunningly beautiful Mizria may be reawakened, Rory seems to becoming closer to Varanguard, Rafe and Longinus continues to send anonymous poems to Lady Martha, daughter of the Old Girl.

    Celine Jeanjean has written another thrilling adventure which is hard to put down. The grubby streets of the city come alive in the fast moving plot and each character has substance and complication. Alchemy and steam driven vehicles play their part but heroism shines. In conclusion the scene is set for further adventure involving characters who have come to mean a great deal to their readers.

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  2. Anonymous says:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    It would look like they have the same purpose in mind, 16 Aug. 2016
    By 
    JazzFeathers (Verona – Italy) –

    The second book in The Viper and the Urchin trilogy picks up where the first left off. At the beginning of the story, Rosy and Longinus are in the service of the Marchioness, in theory ready to help her against her enemies, but practically sitting around waiting for something to happen.
    When something does happen, it doesn’t come from the Marchioness. Rory accidentally learns of people turning up exanguineted in the streets, and a few of them are her former friends. She needs to know what happened to them and Longinus also wants to know what happened, since the murder is using one of his potions.
    It would look like they have the same purpose in mind. In fact, they progressively get far away from each other, especially because Rory, thrown in the shining life of the Marchioness’s palace, ends up fighting to remain herself in a moment when she, her body and her minds are deeply changing.

    On the surface, The Black Orchid is a mystery with very definite political plots woven into it, but at its very heart it is the coming-of-age story of a girl that finds herself in a place that might not be hers, no matter how charming it looks.
    I enjoyed both sides of the story very much, though Rory coming-of-age was particularly endearing. She’s a very human character, with a lot of flaws and a lot of qualities that get very mixed up during this story.

    Damsport becomes even more vivid as a city in this novel. The places, the picturesque people, the history. And it’s quite clear that a plot is boiling in the shadows and I can’t wait to see what it is.

    I have to confess I loved this book even more than I did the first. Can’t wait for the final one to come out.

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  3. Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Fantastic new book in fascinating series, 17 April 2016
    By 

    This review is from: The Black Orchid: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure (The Viper and the Urchin Book 2) (Kindle Edition)

    As I read The Black Orchid, Book 2 of Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin Series, I was thinking again about those three sliding variants of character development—competence, proactivity, and sympathy. In my review of her first book, The Bloodless Assassin (formerly titled The Viper and the Urchin), I talked about how those markers moved over the course of the book.

    It was fascinating to see how they move again in the sequel. The motivating premise of the first book was, as its new title correctly proclaims, the anomaly of a master assassin who is reduced to physical incapacity by the sight of blood. But in this new book, would that be enough to continue moving the action forward? Not a problem! Working brilliantly within a mix of my favorite genres (steampunk/sword & sorcery fantasy), author Celine Jeanjean continues to move those sliders as both urchin Rory and assassin Longinus develop their relationship with each other and with others.

    As The Black Orchid opens—to their mutual shock and not a little embarrassment— both Rory and Longinus find themselves in the position of being honestly employed in the service of Damsport’s ruler, the Old Girl. It’s devastating to both.

    Longinus—”Damsport’s most elegant assassin”, clotheshorse, and bad poet—is used to stalking his contracted victims to the accompaniment of an internal monologue extolling his brilliant (and brilliantly accessorized) successes. But with legal employment, he’s reduced to stalking incoming shipments to discover the reasons for the shortage of luxury goods such as his trademark black silk (so essential to the Viper’s image you know…). And the elegant lines he formerly composed in praise of his prowess as an assassin are now replaced with love poems sent (anonymously, of course) to the Lady Martha, daughter of the Old Girl. While our sympathy for this new Longinus might be high, his rapidly diminishing competence and proactivity make him seem like an over-age and slightly whiny Harry Potter.

    Well-dressed and no longer a scrawny, smelly urchin, gainful employment and regular meals have hit Rory hard as well. For the first time, her life plan of becoming a master swordswoman is tainted by the realization that “the Scarred Woman” she wanted to emulate for years is actively determined to destroy both Longinus personally and her city of Damsport. But Rory slowly realizes that if she’s no longer an urchin—the one thing she was supremely competent at—then she has no idea who or what she is. Like Longinus, the Rory we meet at the beginning of The Black Orchid is hitting the trifecta of low sympathy, competence, and proactivity.

    And the relationship between Rory and Longinus—the one area that could move those sliders up as they reinforce each other’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses—is crumbling under the weight of respectability.

    Luckily for Rory and Longinus, the one person whose sliders are at 100% for competency and proactivity, and near-zero for sympathy—Longinus lifelong enemy and sister Myran—is subtly orchestrating a series of events designed to destroy them. With their enemies a step ahead at every turn, Rory and Longinus both have to step out of their comfortably respectable new life, become proactive, and resurrect the competencies of their old lives to survive.

    One of the things I love about Celine Jeanjean’s writing is all the stuff she does NOT say. In keeping faith with Rory and Longinus as narrators, she keeps explanations to a minimum and pays readers the compliment of assuming we’ll get relationships and motivations from actions, instead of from paragraphs of exposition. Instead of congratulating Damsport on having people of color—and especially women—be strong, clever, and brave, the author lets the unfolding story speak for itself. The love of a woman’s life? It can be another woman, one of a different race at that, and that relationship can be publicly acknowledged. The strongest person in town? Again, that can be a woman. The villain? Ditto.

    In a particular level of genius, Celine Jeanjean lets us into Rory and Longinus heads, uses their point of view to narrate actions, and lets readers put together the clues that the bemused characters still haven’t understood. In addition, The Black Orchid meets all my remaining criteria for a successful mid-series book:

    1. Both the Black Moment when all goes to crap AND the turning point for the series overall? I don’t want to risk spoilers, but there is a moment when all truly seems lost, and when Rory and Longinus’ relationship is severed. Coming off that moment is, I believe, the real turning point for the series as a whole.
    2. Both its own self-contained story arc AND the setup…

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