House of Rocamora
House of Rocamora, set in the 17th century, continues the exceptional life of roguish Vicente de Rocamora. Moving to Amsterdam, he converts to Judaism at age 42, studies to be a doctor, marries and raises a large family. During his long life he meets Rembrandt, serves as royal physician to the House of Orange, survives a murder attempt, and learns from the great English physician Harvey. More
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, a former Dominican friar, confessor to the Infanta of Spain, and almost Inquisitor General. After Rocamora arrives in Amsterdam at age forty-two, asserts he is a Jew, and takes the name, “Isaac,” he revels in the freedom to become whatever he chooses 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 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, and together they raise a large family.
During his time in Amsterdam, 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.
Life is never routine or dull for Rocamora.The intrigues start with his arrival in Amsterdam and do not end until he takes his last breath.
Praise for Rocamora, 2012 Finalist International Book Awards:
“Rocamora is the best historical novel I have read, a fascinating story, well written with vividly portrayed unforgettable characters.” —Christiane Engel, MD, PhD, concert pianist, and member Board of Directors of her grandfather Albert Schweitzer's Hospital in Lambarene, Gabon
“You have a fine historical novel.”
—Barnaby Conrad, author of Matador, Manolete, and The Second Life of John Wilkes Booth