House of Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt is a historical fiction book taking place in Amsterdam. This is a sequel to the well received Rocamaora: Man of Masks which I wrote about last month.
- 346 pages
- Publisher: Raven’s Wing Books (November 19, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1618070916
House of Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt (website) might not be as exciting as its predecessor (meaning there is no castle intrigue or daring escapes from under the Inquisition’s nose) however the account of the daily life of Isaac (previously Vicente de Rocamora) is just as an engrossing read.
The book creates a vivid picture of the Jewish community in Amsterdam. It was very interesting to read how the Jews lived and interacted with each other and the Dutch people at the time. The protagonist has become Jewish but not an observant Jew and the community somewhat resents him for that, add that to the fact that he was a priest and even considered for the post of head of the Spanish Inquisition and you can understand their mistrust.
This is an excellent companion to Rocamora: Man of Masks, however I don’t feel this is a standalone book. I enjoyed this book very much, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed as much if I didn’t read the previous book.
The historical aspects and accuracy of the book are fascinating, intriguing and as far as I can tell accurate. The characters are three dimensional and realistic. Mr. Pratt had imagined an amazing life for an amazing man, not much is known about Vicente de Rocamora, later to be known as Isaac Rocamora (you can view the entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia).
After escaping from Spain, Vicente de Rocamara decided to settle in Amersterdam, one of the few places he could practice his newly found Jewish religion. Settling in Holland, Vicente changed his name to Isaac and decided to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a practicing medical doctor and starting a family.
Zohar – Man of la Book