This has been one of my very favorite novels ever for a very long time (ever since my first reading of it when it was first published in 2003). I just re-read it for the - 4th? or maybe the 5th? - time, and I loved it more than ever.
I don't know that it would work for anyone who hasn't first read The Curse of Chalion (which was Book 1 in this series, and which is tightly connected to Paladin of Souls) - but luckily The Curse of Chalion is wonderful too. (That one has a slow start but then becomes INCREDIBLY tense and absorbing and fantastic. It was my favorite historically-based fantasy I'd ever read up until Paladin of Souls was published.)
I love the heroine, Ista, a disillusioned 40-year-old woman and mother of grown children who thinks her life is over only to find a new calling, great and frightening power, and love; I love the whole varied cast of characters around her; I love the wry humor, and the magic, and the deep compassion that run throughout this book. It's an *enriching* book to read. I feel better every time I re-read it.