I'm looking for the title of a book my friend had me read in high school. This title has eluded me for several decades now.

The book is about a young apprentice to a wizard whose love interest(?) is kidnapped by an evil wizard. To rescue her, the main character travels over a mountain, where he uses a fire spell to stay warm. I remember a companion. He's terrible at magic and kind of blunders his way through the events.

I read it around 1994 or 1995, but it may have been from the 80s. I remember the apprentice, in the classic robes and dunce style wizard hat, Purple or blue maybe. I remember a Faerie or elf, maybe the girl. I swore up and down it was called Westward something.

  • Could it be A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin or one of the sequels? I read it a long time ago and maybe I don't remember it very well. Sep 4 at 11:50
  • The only novel the ISFDB lists with "Westward" in the title is Westward Ho!. Sep 4 at 16:22
  • @JohnRennie Westwood? Eastward? Could be any number of slightly misremembered variants, or the OP might be simply mistaken about that detail.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 4 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


A long shot, but this could be The Ring of Allaire by Susan Dexter, book one of the Winter King's War, published 1981.

From the author's website:

Master magician Blais is dead, murdered by the evil ice-lord Nimir. Now there is only Tristan, an ill-trained apprentice, to continue the quest to rescue Allaire, a princess held in a frozen sleep by Nimir.

Of the other details you give: the titular Allaire is a love interest of sorts. There is a warrior-type companion. Tristan is terrible at magic and blunders around. They do travel through mountains; I don't recall a magic fire to stay warm but it's likely given the wintery setting of the book.

However I've looked at covers and none match your description.


It's far from a perfect match, but With A Single Spell by Lawrence Watt-Evans is a partial match.

Front cover of With A Single Spell

It's the story of an apprentice wizard whose master has died after teaching him only a single simple spell. He sets out to seek his fortune equipped with nothing but the means of magically lighting fires, and stumbles into far more than he ever expected.

Tobas's single spell is indeed lighting fires. His motivation is somewhat different in that he gets pressganged into a group of heroes who are promised a good sum of gold and the hand of a princess if they defeat a dragon who has been menacing the kingdom, and is holed up in the mountains. He winds up teaming up with Peren, an albino who is among the heroes hired. His love interest is met about halfway through the book, and is accidentally the prisoner of magic, an anti-magic incident having left her stranded in a parallel world, with Tobas having to find a way for both of them to escape.

  • This seems very close! I will add this to the reading list either way. Wish I remembered more, but I was 15 at the time.
    – Balendor
    Sep 5 at 7:36

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