Of course Tolkien particularly the Similarion which inspired my worldbuilding.
The Conan Pastiches and reading Howard notes on the Hyborian Age.
This in particular is still inspiring to me.
Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west.Like how could you not want to ramble around in a setting that like?
Harn by N. Robin Crosby. While not novel fiction the whole package has been a continuing source of inspiration for my own games.
Later was A Song of Ice and Fire i.e. Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin for similar reasons that Tim of Gothridge manor gives. How politics and the clash of cultures drives much of the action.