The Bane of Kanthos (Ace Books, October 1969). Cover by Gray Morrow
I read The Bane of Kanthos by Alex Dain in the original 1969 edition, which was part of an Ace Double with Kalin by E. C. Tubb. The cover uses the phrase sword-and-sorcery, but The Bane of Kanthos is a sword & planet novel. An earthman is transported to an alternate world via passage through a black gate. He discovers that the world is at risk from a great, reawakened evil, and that he is the only one who can save it.
There are staunch allies, nasty villains, and a beautiful warrior-princess. All these tropes are familiar, but I enjoy them. What raised this book above the standard level for me was the fine writing. I thought the author’s word usage and prose choices were excellent.