I was born in the vicinity of Hadrian's Wall so perhaps a bit of history rubbed off. Ancient history obviously, and border history, right on the edge of the Empire. I always preferred the Dark Ages anyway; there’s so much more room for imagination when people aren’t writing down every last detail. So my idea of a good fantasy novel involved dirt and leather, not shining plate armour and Hollywood-medieval manners. The same applies to my sci-fi, really; I prefer gritty over shiny.
Oddly, then, one of the first fantasy novels I remember reading was The Dark more...
Hammer of Witches