“Eric Olafson: Captain Black Velvet” by Vanessa Ravencroft

Black Velvet

Eric Olafson is a captain in the United Stars Navy, running a dangerous undercover mission for the Union into Freespace. Also, Eric is now Erica.

This is part of a series, and while I haven’t read any of the earlier installments, I was able to follow along pretty well. Eric/a is a human from a Neo-Viking planet who became a Union officer and has also finally realized his dream of having a female body. Erica is now posing as the mysterious pirate Black Velvet in order to combat crime and slave trading outside of Union space.

The story is something like multiple episodes of Star Trek, with a multi-species crew nobly pursuing Union goals and converting others to Union values. There are hand-to-hand fights, gladiator trials, and space battles, along with surreptitious meetings in dirty bars and everything else you could want or imagine from a space opera. At first it reminded me of C.J. Cherryh’s Alliance-Union novels, but it’s more episodic than that–this is an adventure novel that follows Olafson’s ship from seedy port to seedy port as the crew liberates the oppressed and downtrodden. Not what you might call a serious book, but there’s plenty of action and plenty of feel-good moments for readers who like the lighter kind of space novel.

My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Buy link: Amazon

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