Fletcher Pratt, the only author named twice in Appendix N of the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, was also a military historian and a wargamer, writing a set of naval miniatures rules in 1943. His 1948 novel, The Well of the Unicorn, clearly shows his love of both history and military matters. Its setting is reminiscent of the early Middle Ages, with the action taking place in an analog of northern Europe, where raiders known as "Vulkings" have invaded the kingdom of Dalarna and imposed taxes so oppressive that many people, including the novel's protagonist, Airar Alvarson, find themselves reduced to serfdom. Of course, Airar isn't content to remain a mere peasant under the rule of foreign invaders and so he sets off to find some means to overcome them and restore his land to its former state.
If all this sounds uninspired and hackneyed, that's because it is. Now. In 1948, though, fantasies of this sort weren't an industry. Remember that The Lord of the Rings was still six years in the future, never mind its legions of imitators. And while The Well of the Unicorn is neither as well-written nor as timeless as Tolkien's novel, it's still a cut above most of its contemporaries. The titular well is a magical spring possessing magical properties, chiefly its ability to bring peace to opponents who agree to drink of its waters. Unsurprisingly, Airar seeks out this well, in the process grappling with the question of free will and human action and the conflict between freedom and societal stability.
The Well of the Unicorn is an enjoyable novel, far more serious than one might expect if all one had read were Pratt's collaborations with L. Sprague De Camp. It's clear that De Camp was the wit and Pratt the philosophical one. There's certainly an earnestness to this book that might not appeal to everyone, but, as I said, when one compares it to the vapidity of a lot of the fantasies produced at the time, it's a welcome diversion and one worth reading if one has the opportunity to do so.