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Realmshift Paperback – April 7, 2010
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"...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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome. Thought provoking. Deliciously dark and gritty. Powerful magics and Gods and demons and angels.
Loved this story (and the next one) and the world its set in. Read more
Alan Baxter's Realmshift (The Balance #1) is an intriguing read that is well worth a look.
It's the story of Isiah, a powerful magician and agent of a spiritual entity... Read more
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. Read morePublished on January 17, 2013 by Tamara Rodgers
Realmshift is a fantasy by Alan Baxter. Our main protagonist is Isiah, he's had his life extended and is trying to do some good with his extra time, trying to rebalance the world. Read morePublished on June 1, 2012 by Suzpol
Isiah's long life is dedicated to ensuring balance is maintained. Sometimes, that makes for some nasty work, as is told in this story. Read morePublished on December 31, 2011 by Nicole Murphy
The imagination necessary to create characters like Isiah and Samuel is something few possess. It's a fantastic read leading Isiah and Sam through an adventure involving every... Read morePublished on November 3, 2011 by tdl68
Realm Shift is the first of Alan Baxter's novel-length works that I have read. Having previously published his short fiction, I knew first-hand how talented he is. Read morePublished on June 5, 2011 by Biodagar
I really liked reading RealmShift. From start to finish it was easy to read, flowed well and always left me wanting a little more. Read morePublished on March 29, 2011 by Alex Stoiche
RealmShift is a fascinating dark tale. The novel takes the theme of gods being created by belief as its basis. Read morePublished on March 20, 2011 by scootes