A new life and a new name...
House of Rocamora, a novel of the 17th century, continues the exceptional life of roguish Vicente de Rocamora, the historical Dominican friar, royal confessor for Holy Roman Empress María when she was Infanta of Spain, putative Inquisitor General, and master of disguise.
After Rocamora arrives in Amsterdam at age forty-two, asserts he is a Jew, and takes the name Isaac, he must find his place in a land antipodal to Spain. He revels in a new freedom to become whatever he wants for the first time in his life.
Rocamora makes new friends, both Christian and Jew, including scholars, men of power and, typically, the disreputable. He also acquires enemies in the Sephardic community who believe he is a spy for the Inquisition or resent him for having been a Dominican.
As Isaac Israel de Rocamora, he learns the Dutch language, studies Medicine at Leyden and at age forty-six receives a license to practice. That same year Rocamora weds twenty-five year old Abigail Touro, his greatest love, who will give him nine children over the next eleven years.
Rocamora has a bizarre encounter with Rembrandt, serves the House of Orange as physician, and advises Spinoza before the philosopher’s excommunication. He survives a murder attempt, learns from the great English physician Harvey, and a surprise visit from a childhood friend leads to an unusual business venture.
A renowned physician, Rocamora must ensure his wife, children, and patients survive several plagues that kill tens of thousands in Amsterdam and more throughout the Dutch Republic.
Life is never routine or dull for Rocamora from the day he arrives in Amsterdam until his last breath, with triumphs and sorrows, and the ultimate satisfaction of having begun a multi-generational dynasty of physicians.
Donald Michael Platt received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. After two years in the Army, he went to graduate school at San Jose State where one of his short stories was published in the college’s literary magazine, The Reed, and won the following awards in the annual Senator Phelan Literary Contest: 1st & 2nd in Plays; 1st & 2nd in Essays; 1st & 3rd in Free Verse.
After teaching English and Creative Writing at Los Gatos Union High School, he moved to southern California and began his professional writing career. He sold to the TV series, Mr. Novak, ghosted Your Hair and Your Diet for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse ... (more)