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RealmShift Paperback – October 17, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Blade Red Press (October 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980578205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980578201
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,976,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


RealmShift by Alan Baxter is a gripping, thought-provoking tale that evokes a strong response within the reader, both on an emotional and an intellectual level. It is a dark fantasy that takes the reader on both an adventure-filled ride, but also a spiritual exploration... Action abounds in this thriller... Baxter's prose is better than many in the genre... the narrative is consistently solid and well-crafted... It is dark fantasy blended with action, adventure and spiritual exploration that in no way falls into the typical Judeo-Christian mold. Some will find the story too graphic, while others might be uncomfortable with the avenues in which spirituality is explored. Personally I found it a gritty, entertaining read that made me think. If you like your speculative fiction a little on the dark side, RealmShift is for you. --David Wood, Gryphonwood SF/F Publisher and webzine


The title draws intrigue. Impressionable cover art, glossed, and a staccato opening - almost literary - clinches it... Twice, ensconced in a tram, reading this 452 page tale, I missed my stop. Isiah, the protagonist is an immortal who detects demon sulphur on Earth. Missions all over the world but now one in his own backyard. Isiah is having one ass of a day... Alan Baxter introduces us to a mystical world, a shadowed realm with forces beyond comprehension or principle... Mr. Baxter writes with conviction; he writes differently rather well... the overall effect, more so for a first time author, is notably fine. Physical and dimensional conflict is one of the best features of the tale. Effortless script makes gullible the reader, carrying him to a destination, any destination, manic laughter fading... Prose flows smoothly, almost poetic. RealmShift is a novel I am loath to put down. A most surprising read. Quite a ride.

More About the Author

Alan Baxter is a Ditmar Award-nominated British-Australian author living on the south coast of NSW, Australia. He writes dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. His contemporary dark fantasy novels, RealmShift and MageSign, are out through Gryphonwood Press, and his short fiction has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies in Australia, the US, the UK and France, including the Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror. Alan is also a freelance writer, penning reviews, feature articles and opinion. He's a contributing editor and co-founder at Thirteen O'Clock, Australian Dark Fiction News & Reviews, and co-hosts Thrillercast, a thriller and genre fiction podcast. Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website - - and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
From start to finish it was easy to read, flowed well and always left me wanting a little more.
Alex Stoiche
I read this book because I met the author at a conference, and found the way he talked about characters and their worlds really intriguing.
Tamara Rodgers
The story focuses on the struggles of Isiah, an immortal agent of the balance, as he battles to maintain equilibrium between good and evil.
Michell Plested

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Inkwell on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
RealmShift by Alan Baxter
RealmShift is the debut work of the English born Sydney resident Alan Baxter who creates a present day (or as near to it to make a difference unnoticeable) and rather gritty reality, which is underpinned by the somewhat less tangible balance and interplay of the gods. By saying gods one has to include those of powerful stature, the aspiring wannabe gods, the higher and lesser deities and the individual's "personal god" of less than no significance as well as those seen as the creators and the undoers.

Isiah (not to be mistaken for the prophet by the name of Isaiah), our protagonist, is a more or less reluctant tool intent on upholding a semblance of balance in the world, that gods and demons in their play are intent on disrupting. The slightly aged (around 400 years) and disillusioned Isiah is continuously guided, pushed and prodded by the entity "The Balance" to use his not so insubstantial powers to prevent acts by those selfsame forces of good and evil that might shift the balance in favour of one or the other.

In this particular case Isiah merely has to retrieve the soon to be and not so nice sidekick Samuel, to make sure he knocks off an Assassin in Central America. If he doesn't, the assassin will in turn do what he does best and quite a lot brown stuff will hit the proverbial fan in the not so distant future. This takes the reader from your everyday city streets to hell and back and then proceeds to throw you into yet another hell of heat and mosquitoes in the Guatemalan jungle.
Oh, has it been mentioned that Samuel is quite evil, not exactly readily recruitable and literally frying in the Hell of his own making? (Well, he certainly is a worthy contribution to your local "Satanic Cultists Anonymous" help group.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Dawson VINE VOICE on April 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Sometimes, I hate the 1-5 star rating system at Amazon. This is one of those times where I wish I could split stars, because I would have rather given this book a 3 1/2 instead of just a three, but I can't honestly rate it a 4. So ignore the star rating altogether.


The premise is a familiar one in speculative literature. Beneath and beyond the mundane world, supernatural forces poise themselves to break the balance and bring chaos and destruction to the earth. Most people cannot see the truth, nor do they really want to. Devoid of connection to the mystical, most people are content struggling through the grey world of corporal materialism. But some people are connected to the mystical, and the actions of these few can impact the fate of the world. This familiar, yet still profound story concept, is told anew in Realmshift, by Alan Baxter.

Specifically, the story revolves around a man who makes a deal with Satan in exchange for immortality, then figures out how to use ancient blood magics and ritual murder to prevent Satan from collecting. But this is by no means a traditional Faustian morality tale, because the apparent good guys aren't interested in saving his soul, but insuring he keeps his end of the bargain to protect the Balance. The central protagonist, Isiah, is charged with insuring that Samuel fulfills his end of the bargain by destroying a creature in Central America that would in fact grant him his immortality before an angry Satan tracks down the magician and destroys him on principle.

The entire narrative reads like a tale told by some omniscient yet bored being, indifferent to the incredible tale it is telling. This is both the blessing and the curse of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frikle on May 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
We get launched straight into the action: the semi-protagonist must locate and guide a perfect example of the scum of the earth and ensure that he fulfils his "destiny", which involves being in a Guatemalan jungle in a certain point in space-time and killing a second scum of the earth before this second scum of the earth kills a third person who incidentally is not the scum of the earth.

Sounds simple, and if that was all there was it would make for a rather bland thriller.

Except that the semi-protagonist is essentially an unpaid employee of an unnamed Force that is the source of all things. And according to the book, our world is essentially driven by our thoughts - our beliefs and convictions can create reality, whether this is manifested in the use of magic or the literal existence of every type of deity that anyone's imagined. Such a host of deities can be hard to manage, which is why there is the need for employees (like our semi-protagonist) to maintain some kind of balance in worldviews, beliefs and the deities which are the waste products of these beliefs. Essentially, I couldn't help comparing the worldview in Realmshift to the movie Constantine. However, Realmshift has none of the crappiness of Constantine...

Hope I haven't given too much away...

Told in a way that's action packed (almost in a comic book style), the book gets its appeal through its reflections on the less fantastical aspects of our life like religions and society. It takes the piss out of the absurd aspects of many a belief system without being dogmatic or following some new-age motivational trend followed more for the purpose of selling books than for substance.

Not everything in the book works, but it's a great ride which shan't disappoint. The novel has elements of both a good sci-fi/fantasy/thriller AND the more literary novel of ideas. Admirers of both should be able to enjoy this heartily.

A great first published novel by Baxter!
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