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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Viper: A Highland Guard Novel Mass Market Paperback – October 18, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews
Book 4 of 8 in the Highland Guard Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of The Ranger, The Hawk, and The Chief, the first three books in the Highland Guard series, the Highlander trilogy (Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained), and the Campbell trilogy (Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland Scoundrel). Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. After a short but enjoyable stint as an attorney, she realized that her career as a lawyer set against her husband’s transitory life as a professional baseball player was not exactly a match made in heaven. So she traded in her legal briefs for Scottish historical romances with sexy alpha heroes. Monica McCarty lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and their two children.

About the Author

Monica McCarty is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous Scottish historical romance novels, including the Campbell series, the MacLeods of Skye series, and the Highland Guard novels. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children. Visit her at monicamccarty.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: Highland Guard (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345528395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345528391
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am surprised to say that to me, this latest installment of the Highland Guard Series was just an average read. I was very excited to read The Viper because in the predecessor books, this character seemed very mysterious, arrogant, cynical and devilishly alluring. He did live up to these qualities and much more. I absolutely loved this character! He is everything above superior in such an elite warrior.

However, I did not like his matched heroine. She came across as too impulsive, flat boring and emotionally hysterical to me. You would think that after being held captive for about four years suspended in a cage above a castle she would learn to be more careful with not only the life of those around her, and especially our wonderfully acclaimed hero, but with hers as well; she makes too many careless mistakes and endangers so many lives on reckless impulses. Her story about wanting to reunite with her daughter, or get one glimpse of her daughter went on and on and her always being blackmailed with the chance to meet said daughter should she cooperate with her jailers, and ultimately the Comyn side of the rebellion was just too dragging and tediously repetitious. I found myself having to skim the pages with a great big sigh and "oh no, here we go again with our heroine going all out emotionally crazed and all over the place." With this being said, I truly felt that this couple was a complete mismatch.

Finally, I felt that this book lacked a bit of its own personality and uniqueness because our hero is caught and held captive towards the latter part of the book and pretty much mistreated in the same manner as the hero in the predecessor book, The Ranger.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was well written, and the historical details were great. Unfortunately, as others have already explained so well, the heroine, Bella, is just so stubborn and reckless in her goal to reunite with her daughter that she repeatedly endangers everyone, including her daughter, the hero, and the entire highland guard. The daughter is living in relative safety and comfort in England, while her mother flees across Scotland with Bruce and his guard. Considering that capture means torture and the possibility of betraying your comrades followed by a very public and gruesome punishment or execution, her actions and demands fell into the category of too-stupid-to-live. Her persistence in this behavior constitutes a serious fault in the plot of the story, and ruins what otherwise could have been a good book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I must say that I have absolutely LOVED Monica McCarty's writing and her use of real historical events in her series. It gives her books authenticity and makes me feel as if I have traveled back into the Highlands. She is incredibly talented and I have looked forward to this book since I finished the last one in this series. However, I felt a little let down by this book.

First, the hero was great. I felt his character was believable and consistent and stayed true to himself throughout the story. Strong and silent, dependable and loyal. Who doesn't like a strong, silent bad boy? Although he was, at times, cruel and uncaring in his words, his story and his history gave the reader the ability to identify with him and understand that his lashing out was used to keep people out emotionally and could feel empathy for him. I felt he was the best part of the book. I loved him. The emotional strain between Lachlan and Bella when they at last reach the King, and Lachlan's return for his reward, felt real and pulled at my heart. You could feel the torture of the characters as if it were real. That section of the book made me want to keep reading.

Unfortunately, the heroine at turns made me want to leave her to the enemy, pitch her off her horse or throw her from the wall of the castle myself. Her complete lack of concern for others, including the man she claimed to care for and respect, made me unable to like or feel empathy for her no matter how she was treated. I felt she got only a fraction of what she deserved from the English for her horrible treatment of everyone in her life. Bella judges the hero by rumors before she ever even speaks with him; treats him as if he is dirt under her boot, then cries about his poor treatment of her.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't say enough about this series and how much I like Ms. McCarty's style. I like how she dialogues with actual historical events and tells you how they inspired her stories and characters (even they are hugely different). She makes the setting feel authentic (whether or not it actually is) and the famous background characters make the series feel incredibly epic. I also find it admirable that she is able to satisfactorily end stories in a believably happy manner. I mean, a 70-90% happy ending is much more genuine and fulfilling to me than a 100% happy ending, even if it is escapist literature.

"The Viper" is your classic jaded distant bad-boy meets spirited, principled, and optimistic woman. I really enjoyed watching their relationship unfold layer after layer over the course of years instead of the usual day, week, or month-long courtships that romance novels usually stick to. I relish McCarty's rich and complex characters and her devotion to both the male and female protagonist perspectives over the course of the novel. I am especially impressed with the strength of McCarty's female characters and their ability to not whine/become hysterical in certain moments/confrontations. Bella MacDuff is without a doubt in my top 2 for rock-awesome heroines in this series so far.
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