5

Probably printed in the 1980s.

As I recall it was split between reality and a fantasy world that resembled 1600s Spain. The cover had a man riding a winged horse.

There is a book "Orlando Furioso" by Lodovico Ariosto written in 15th-16th century. The title rings a bell that makes me wonder if the title and perhaps plot was reused.

The lead character dies at the end.

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  • 1
    Can you remember anything that happens in this book that you could edit in?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 25 '20 at 22:06
  • Except for the "dies at the end part" this could be The Castle of Iron if it's a hippogriff and not a horse...
    – DavidW
    May 25 '20 at 22:08
9

It's possible this was The Castle of Iron by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt or the collection The Compleat Enchanter (1977) that contained it.

Cover of The Compleat Enchanter

The book cover depicts a hippogriff, not a horse, but it is a winged steed.

In the story Harold Shea, his wife Belphebe, some co-workers and a cop are dragged from the contemporary U.S. into a world based on Orlando Furioso by a former colleague Reed Chalmers. Note that the world is specifically based on Orlando Furioso, as that was the system of symbolic logic used to access it.

I don't remember any of the heroes dying, but Belphebe is struck nearly fatally with an arrow that finally helps her regain her memory.

The Wikipedia page for Orlando Furioso lists The Castle of Iron as one of only a handful of popular fiction works based on it, and none of the others seem a better match.

6

This sounds like The Incompleat Enchanter in part. This is the cover I am thinking of, although it's a gryphon, not a winged horse. The third book is literally set in the world of Orlando Furioso, and it involves characters from our world traveling to it (and other worlds earlier), but the character does not die in the end.

1

How about Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, 1988.

from Goodreads:

In an alternate-world Italian Renaissance where the Italian states have formed a federation, the great epic poet Ludovico Ariosto is writing a fantasy adventure set in the New World that reflects the difficulties besetting his patron, Damiano de' Medici. While the Cerrochi in Ariosto's fantasy battle the evil wizard Anatrecacciatore with the help of a heroic version of Ariosto himself, politics and skullduggery plague the Florence-based court of Italia Federata, in which Ariosto becomes enmeshed when he chooses to support the Medicis against those seeking to fracture the Italian union

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    Hey, thanks for the answer! Could you please edit this to include a bit more information about this book (such as a short description, plot summary, etc.), and explain how it matches the description in the question? Thanks!
    – Mithical
    Jun 15 '20 at 19:29

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