This is one of the handful of books I have read that I can honestly say "changed my life". The way Bradley wrote from each different perspective had a lot to do with it. She was so completely inside of each character and understood each perspective so well that she awakened my own understanding to each in turn. So thoroughly unbiased from both the christian "side" and the pagans (within each character). When I finally set the book down after reading it for the first time, I had gone through all the stages of awakening toward true religious freedom and non-judgment. Beginning with confusion, and then anger, followed by more confusion (and admittedly more anger), then a flicker of understanding, (somewhere in there was a night of nightmares bringing up all my fears from childhood of church tainted with lies, bigotry, and criticism) then finally... true understanding. I grew and wizened right along with Morgaine as she grew and lived and loved and learned, and by the end I saw the truth of it. The unity of each person loving the same god, but under a different name and with a different perspective (steeped in vastly different cultural teachings). I could finally see not just the reasoning but the justification that each side was holding for their (sometimes violent) actions. The right and wrongness melted away as I began to feel an understanding (lined with sorrow and empathy for their adolescent choices) for both sides, and realize they all just wanted the same thing: To worship their god/goddess that they held true and dear in the way they honestly feel is the best for them. When we can all do this along side each other, with no judgment, and no projecting of expectation, then we will all be getting somewhere. Somewhere Marion Zimmer Bradley already is.
Plus it was a rockin' Authurian telling I had never heard from the female perspective. Incredibly detailed period read that felt alive. Filled with raw emotion and empowered women. Read this book.