Volume One of The Earthsong Trilogy evokes the moment in pre-history when marauding nomads brought horses, male gods, and war to a goddess-worshipping Europe that had known peace for thousands of years. Against this perilous backdrop, a passionate, dangerous love develops between Marrah, a gifted priestess, and Stavan, one of the invading warriors. Doom is on the way, and lovers from two cultures find themselves in the thick of horror. Stavan offers to try to deflect the Great Chief; Marrah and younger brother Arang will also journey--to warn other of the matristic peoples. The journey takes them through welcoming villages, forests, and religious places, but then disaster strikes, and Marrah and Arang are captured. There's an orgy of violence and cruelty, leading to a (literal) graveside escape. Mackey's message concerning patriarchal bloody swords vs. matriarchal plowshares is a rallying trumpet for the Bradley/Auel readership.