Reading Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings saga when I was 13 had a major impact on my imaginative life no doubt, but by the time of my mid teens I had moved away from epic fantasy with all of its genre conventions. Gene Wolfe is one of the great fantasy and SF writers (that nobody has ever heard off) and can be read as literature of the highest order. The two books comprising The Wizard Knight (read my short review of The Knight here) is his attempt at straight down the line Fantasy, with all the tropes-knightly heroes, elfin races, dragons, giants, even talking animals. But as this is Gene Wolfe there is added complexity and depth belied by its bog-standard cover. It has all the pleasures of fantasy (escape into a mythical imaginary world being one of them) as well as a satisfying obliqueness and sophistication that makes you wonder what actually is going on under the surface.