5

Read the novel in the late eighties as a child. Short novel in a paperback format. About 150 pages. My memory is hazy so some details may be plain wrong.

The evil wizard X, left the realm of (civilized) man into the wild. Alternatively, he was always one of the barbarians. He found a magic trinket (or knowledge) that gave him serious juice. Raised a barbarian horde and mounted a campaign to conquer the kingdom.

He first laid siege to a castle of said hero. Some minor border noble. Possibly a baron. The baron saw his own wizard get killed by the power of the wizard. I think this may have been in the end and not the beginning.

The baron left to find help (from the king?). He passed through other baronies/counties. Picked up the daughter of a noble on the way. Worried about getting permissions to pass through unfriendly baronies.

Learned a dangerous spell along the way the could kill someone or himself.

Failed in the mission. Came back home. Saw the battle going the wrong way. Did the spell. Won the day.

Cover was maybe the baron holding a sword, the chick (scantily clad), wolves??? and snow. IIRC, the setting was arctic.

4

Could be Harry Turtledove's 'Gerin the Fox' books (possibly written as Eric Iverson).
From Goodreads:

When the barbarous Trokmoi killed his father and older brother, he became Baron of Fox Keep, warring against not only the Trokmoi and their fearsome evil wizard but also against the Empire of Elabon

One review mentions a quest to the capital to recruit a wizard to come back and lift the siege of Fox Keep. Some of the titles of other stories are 'Prince of the North' and 'King of the North', which implies snow and an arctic setting.

  • It's wereblood (the first book). It has the cover I remembered. – Roy Falk Sep 14 at 20:01
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    Strangely enough, I was going to apologize for asking, as I remembered the book to be rather meh. I asked because it was my gateway book to novels in English. I thought the author was going to be someone unknown and I was wrong. In his defense, it was his debut novel and I guess he got better (or I'm just wrong about the quality of the book). Maybe I'll give it another try one day. – Roy Falk Sep 14 at 20:34
  • @RoyFalk I have 'Prince of the North', but never finished it once I realized it was a middle book in a series. I don't remember much about it. I liked some of his later books (The Misplaced Legion for example) – LAK Sep 14 at 20:54
  • Turtledove had a phase (late 1980s) where he wrote some decent stuff, like Noninterference and he aforementioned Misplaced Legion, before he went down into an endless series of random alternate history x-ologies. – DavidW Sep 14 at 21:23

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