The Black Raven is Book Two of The Dragon Mage and the 10th volume of the Deverry series, a fantasy epic consisting of three interrelated quartets. As Katherine Kerr says, the past and the present are woven together in these novels, and the final volume will link with the first to reveal an overall design akin to a Celtic knot threading back and forth upon itself. This is a strange, pseudo-Celtic world in which reincarnation is a reality and past lives forever affect the present in surprising and unexpected ways. So, while The Black Raven can stand alone, it is advisable that readers begin with the first book, Daggerspell.
In this complex novel of civil war, sacrifice, and power, what impresses most is that Kerr uses an epic canvas to tell a strongly characterized and very human tale of hatred and destructive evil, and of the consequences of past malevolence on both the heroine Lilli and the Prince Maryn. By keeping the narrative tightly focused around a small number of characters, and by maintaining strict limits on the rather elaborately conceived elements of magic and the supernatural, Katherine Kerr ensures that her fantastical history does not overwhelm the more personal and affecting dimensions of the tale. The result is a polished, emotionally involving, and powerful novel in which even the dreams of a dragon may come evocatively to life. --Gary S. Dalkin, Amazon.co.uk