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Realmshift Paperback – April 7, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Balance Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"RealmShift is phenomenal. If it's not already on your bookshelf it should be." - Midwest Book Review

"...an intriguing read that has stacks of appeal for lovers of dark fantasy and thrillers." - Scenes & Sequels podcast


"...a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling book--and one that showcases a writer unafraid of throwing universe-sized ideas out there, before nailing them to the page like a pro." - Fantasy Faction



"For lovers of dark fantasies, thrillers or just a bloody good read, this book comes highly recommended." - Book Lover's Club

Review

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. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Gryphonwood Press (April 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982508743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982508749
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,909,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alan Baxter's first novel, RealmShift, is a smart, action-packed
multi-genre epic: dark urban fantasy, thriller, noir and horror, all
rolled seamlessly together.

In a world where every god and demon from every culture is exactly as
real as its followers believe it to be, Isiah is an immortal enforcer
for the Balance, a meta-deity that polices these strange and contrary
powers.

The story here is quite straightforward without being simple. The
Balance tells Isiah what it needs to happen early on in the book--the
fun is in seeing how it all plays out. There are plenty of twists and
wrinkles in the plot, but the story goes exactly where it's intended
without ever cheating.

The characters are deftly drawn. Even though there are greater forces
are dragging them into the conflict, the humans do their best to make
their own choices. The story really does hinge on what they have
learned throughout their journey. For all his power, Isiah is not
allowed to directly enact the Balance's will: his role is to prevent
gods and demons from interfering with ordinary humans.

Isiah himself is a bit seedy for a superman, which makes helps make
him sympathetic. He's quite moral, like the Balance he serves, but
he's a long way from being a saint. He's a man with a dirty job to do;
he's allowed to complain every now and again.

I'm a sucker for a good villain, and Carlos Villalopez, the primary
antagonist, is twisted and vicious and still sympathetic. Samuel
Harrigan, who is perhaps the real villain, is a talented psychopath
upon whose damned existence the Balance hangs.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those stories where the author apparently combined a lot of research into religions, history, culture, and archeology to write an amazing story. I really liked his development of the main characters and the continual balancing act of deities. However, I wasn't really fond of his loose portrayal of the spiritual world and faith and beliefs, etc. I have a strong spiritual side and that is where that comment comes from. However, Baxter did an amazing job of writing a great story. Well worth the read.
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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.

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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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