This is the second book in the Dragon Mage series, which chronicles the fortunes of the inhabitants of Deverry and those of the Northlands and Westlands in various centuries.
I found this sequel to The Red Wyvern slightly unsatisfying, but still an absolute charm of a novel, with the kind of detail a fantasy trainspotter like me thrives upon. Kerr does feudal villages and castles and fantasy/history exceedingly well; her characters are multidimensional and challenging - particularly the women, which I believe is deliberate: the men tend to be more distant - romantic figures or even caricatures - which I suppose might annoy you if you are a man. But this is quite unashamedly a book from a woman's point of view: for instance, when the men go to war the action of the novel tends to stay with the women left behind. This works very well indeed: it's not a feminist treatise, just an honest authorial perspective.
In The Black Raven, we meet my favourite Lillorigga again, this time on the horns of a different dreadful dilemma, torn between her good, honest, loving, considerate, brave, strong, boring husband-to-be and the not altogether natural charisma and charms of the importunate Prince Maryn; working with dangerous magic to unravel a deadly curse on the Prince at the expense of her health and not entirely free of the spectre of her evil dead mother.
But it's Niffa who takes my fancy in this one. Just coming into the awareness of her psychic abilities and hounded by Raena, the misguided sorceress with little conscience and too much power for her own - or anybody else's - good, Niffa mourns her murdered husband and is comforted by the family ferrets, unaware that her pain and persecution is a repetition of that of Lillorigga and her mother, doomed to continue, cycle upon cycle, in different incarnations, until, presumably, the battle between the supernatural forces which blights the lives of the inhabitants of Deverry and, centuries later, Cerr Cawnen, is resolved.