The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

I don’t know what in the wide wide world is going on but I seem to be on a roll with good books at the moment and Ben Tripp’s Fifth House of the Heart is no exception.

The story revolves around a central character known as Asmodeus Saxon-Tang – thankfully everyone calls him Sax for short!  Sax specialises in obtaining and selling antiques.  This is a business that he not only excels at and has a huge store of knowledge that guides him to pick and choose which pieces are the best to acquire but he’s also grown filthy rich in the process and has gained a certain level of fame (or notoriety).

At the start of the story Sax is bidding on an antique clock, a clock which whilst he started with fairly ambivalent feelings towards it is now growing in interest as he is matched bid for bid by an attractive newcomer who seems very anxious to make it’s purchase.  Of course Sax wins the lot but in doing so he may have just bought himself some very unwelcome attention.  Nonetheless he’s a bit puzzled as to why this rather unassuming clock seems to have generated such interest – well, he’s puzzled right up until somebody breaks into his warehouse and steals it from him, killing his night watchman in the process and giving him an unwelcome trip down memory lane and a cold jolt of realisation!

Basically Sax is in danger.  This is definitely a world in which monsters go bump in the night and the monsters in question are vampires.  Fortunately – most people remain blissfully unaware of their existence as death usually follows swiftly on the heels of those who get wise to their existence.  Vampires are solitary creatures.  They tend to live very isolated existences locked in their mansions and chateaus, brimming with antiques and antiquities many of which are believed to have been lost to the world.  They put you in mind of dragons, sitting atop their wealth, sleeping but always keeping one eye alert to possibilities.

Now, realising his predicament Sax decides to take action – action being the best form of defence.  He’s going to search out his predator but before doing so he pays his favourite niece a visit.  He’s feeling a little guilty about potentially leaving her unprotected and wants to give her the heads up.  Obviously she thinks he’s a little crazy but she listens to his stories and I’m so glad she did because they make for interesting reading.  I won’t elaborate on them here other than to say they’re both different, set in different environments, totally compelling and both with vampires that appear to be entirely different in nature.  The vampires here are unlike those in the myths we already know of.  There is a thin veneer of similarity but there are also some very intriguing new developments – the biggest of which is that vampires are not the undead!   Having regaled his niece with stories to give her nightmares and gifted her a strange object that turns out to be a vampire weapon he leaves.  Sax is gathering about him a crew of mercenaries and having been granted permission by the Church and accompanied by a priest the ‘hunted’ is about to become the ‘hunter’.  At least that’s what he hopes!  Vampires tend to be one step ahead usually, they have all the time in the world so the end game is their ultimate goal.

I really found this an entertaining read.  I liked the characters – well, Sax in particular just steals the show.  The surrounding cast are a little more flimsy but still provide good support and anyway it would be impossible to upstage Sax.  Put simply he’s a flamboyant, outrageous and self absorbed man and an unashamed coward to boot.

So, what did I really enjoy.  Well, the writing is really good.  Tripp manages to set the scene perfectly either from dusty chateau, damp and creepy cave to vampire laboratory!  Yep, be intrigued.  There are some great scenes where the mercenaries hide from hideous vampire hunters and a grand finale where the tension mounts and on top of this Tripp manages to inject humour here and there which prevents things becoming too heavy.  Plus a twist at the end that I certainly didn’t see coming.

A great mash up of olde worlde vampire a la Dracula, meets Indiana Jones (albeit wickedly flamboyant) surrounded by evil and assisted by a motley crew of odd misfits.

There is definitely potential for more from this world and I seriously hope there will be further additions.

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17 Responses to “The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp”

  1. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Oh! I have this one and it’s next up for me once I finish my current (very long, but very excellent) book. Glad to hear it works so well!

    • lynnsbooks

      Ahh, your Hobbs?
      This was great – I really liked it – I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I actually didn’t expect this, but it was really good.
      Lynn 😀

  2. jessicabookworm

    I like Dracula and I like Indiana Jones…sounds like a great mash up 🙂

  3. Tammy

    OMG!! I am reading this right now, and I hope to finish and have my review up this week. I LOVE IT. I absolutely love Ben Tripp’s writing, it’s amazing. And you’re right, Sax is the great character ever. I’ve highlighted so many quotes that I want to use in my review, because the writing is so funny. So glad you loved it!!

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s so good isn’t it – I hadn’t realised you were reading it – I could have been messaging you all my random silly thoughts! His writing is so effective. I haven’t read any by him before – do you have any more recommendations??

  4. DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

    I’m a big fan of vampire stories, and one with a bit of Indiana Jones in it sounds awesome. I recently got a copy of this one, and have it set for my October TBR.

  5. libbycole007

    I like this, what a good way for a character to be introduced to vampires and (hopefully!) survive.

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This one is in my NetGalley TBR waiting its turn – I’m very glad to hear it worked for you. It sounds awesome, especially the Indiana Jones comparison (I’m so excited to read it now based on that one line alone 😀 )

  7. Danya @ Fine Print

    This sounds like so much fun! I know not everyone loves vamps these days but I think they get a bad rap. And I’m not sure if you’ve read anything by Gail Carriger, but Sax sounds a little bit like Biffy, a very flamboyant and hilarious character from her adult series. Definitely intrigued by this one! 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      This was great and I have read the first four in the Parasol series and really liked them – it’s another series I need to finish. Not read the Prudence books yet.
      Sax is brilliant. He’s this totally over the top character, flawed but admits it, that you can’t help loving. I thought this was great and actually think you would enjoy this one.
      Lynn 😀

  8. jenclair

    I’m definitely interested in this one! Interesting cover, too.

    • lynnsbooks

      I really liked it – especially the main character Saz who is just really good to read. The cover definitely catches your eye doens’t it.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: New Books & What I’ve Been Reading… | The BiblioSanctum

    […] Oh, who am I kidding, this book looks amazing! It’s gotten glowing reviews from a couple bloggers I follow already, so no […]

  10. Hot July brings cooling showers… |

    […] The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp […]

  11. ‘Ooh-de-la-lay! Ooh-de-la-lay! Fortune tellers!’ | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp – mm, Saxon Tang may deal in antiquities, he may be successful and filthy rich – but he was involved in some dodgy deals in his bygone years! […]

  12. ‘MOST WANTED’ | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp – Oh hell yes!  The casting needs to be good.  Not everyone can play Asmodeus Saxon Tang – but get the casting right and this could be so good.  So very good. […]

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