“When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” – Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang
Ben Tripp‘s The Fifth House of the Heart is an intelligent new twist on the old vampire myth. It’s common knowledge that vampires are blood-feasting undead repelled by garlic who, while they can be staked to death through the heart and harmed by fire, are basically otherwise immortal. But in this tale, the science behind the supernatural creatures’ existence and vulnerabilities is revealed, while new characteristics are introduced.
Asmodeus Saxon-Tang, better known as “Sax,” is a highly sophisticated, wealthy antiques dealer. The septuagenarian has traveled the globe to acquire his rare treasures, and while it’s apparent that he’s a master in his field, what’s lesser-known is how he came upon some of his rarer acquisitions — by raiding vampire lairs. Because vampires must hide their immortality from the world, it can be difficult for them to maintain ownership of their possessions century after century, leaving these heirlooms free for the taking by a person like Sax. Since vampires typically hoard their valuable possessions — items whose value increases over time — anyone who manages to kill one, would also be able to take the hoard for themselves. Though burglarizing vampire domiciles is not Sax’s specialty, he has done it enough to be set financially for life. But, the undead don’t take too kindly to these trespasses, and with nothing but time on their hands, they can be very patient and wait to take their revenge upon thieves.