Although, as seems traditional in my family, I started reading rather early (The Hobbit by 5 and plenty of Arthurian myth as well as The Lord of the Rings by 6) and remain a voracious reader, there are images from history books and fiction which are almost as much to blame for me being the fine upstanding geek I am today. I've picked just one for this post from Michael Foreman's evocative illustrations for Terry Jones' "The Saga of Eric the Viking". The viking's are outnumbered and ankle deep in the freezing, breaking surf as Fear itself threatens to sweep them away under the cold blades of alien, dog-headed warriors.
I could have included almost anything by Alan Lee (Tolkien-related or otherwise) or Cor Blok or....
Actually, I lied: one image isn't enough. Here are two more; both covers from books I loved as a boy. The Hobbit (Tolkien's own drawing) and Dragonworld by Byron Preiss and Michael Reaves (worth a read if you haven't), cover by Joseph Zucker.
So, your turns now - what images inspired you? Share the wealth!