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Rocamora, Donald Michael Platt

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Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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Rocamora, Donald Michael Platt

Postby Rowan » Thu August 28th, 2008, 1:08 am

Poet, swordsman, and master of disguise, Vicente de Rocamora, the epitome of a young Renaissance man in 17th century Spain, questions the goals of the Inquisition and the brutal means used by King Philip IV and the Roman Church to achieve them. Spain vows to eliminate the heretical influences attributed to Jews, Moors, or recent converts to Catholicism, who would taint the limpieza de sangre, purity of Spanish blood.

At the insistence of his family, the handsome and charismatic Vicente enters the Dominican Order and is soon thrust into the scheming political and clerical heirarchies that rule Spain.

At court, Vicente becomes Confessor to King Philip's sister, Infanta Doña María, and an invaluable assistant to the King's chief minister, the Count-Duke de Olivares, who wants to abolish the limpieza statutes. Rising within the clergy, he is poised to attain not only the ambitious dreams of the de Rocamora family, but also - if named Spain's Inquisitor General - to bring about an end to the atrocities committed in the name of the blood purity laws.

Vicente needs all his skills and cunning to survive assassination attempts from a growing list of ruthless foes in both Church and court, solve a centuries-old riddle to quell rumors of his own impurity of blood, and above all, suppress his love for the seemingly unattainable Infanta.


There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to break out of a mold they've created for themselves. For me, this book was the moment of the break. Quite honestly, when I agreed to accept Rocamora as a book to review, I had no idea what I was in for. And let me tell you, it doesn't make things any easier when you attempt to do a little research on your own before you receive the book and discover the book is written about an enigmatic figure such as Vicente de Rocamora.

Now I know there will be a few of you who are far more knowledgeable about Spanish history, and I respect that, but as one who's never read a scrap of text about Spain in my entire life, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rocamora and am thankful for the opportunity given to me.

First and foremost, it reminded me that history is not one gigantic timeline, with one event happening after another, but rather a tapestry with parts that have been woven together. The most enlightening part of Rocamora was learning the origins of the Inquisition. I was fairly confident that a group of Catholics didn't wake up one morning and decide to kill off anyone who didn't agree with their teachings, but neither did I investigate beyond that realisation. Nor did I know that there were a few different inquisitions that happened throughout a period of history, though the one in Spain seems to have been the lengthiest and possibly most violent.

Vicente himself is portrayed in an interesting way. While there is little historical documentation about Vicente de Rocamora, other than his position within the Spanish court being the Infanta's personal confessor and then his conversion to Judaism later in life, I believe Platt did a good job with the tools at hand. Vicente's life is one lived in disguise of one sort or another, either to protect himself, or those he loves. From the opening when he avenges the deaths of his parents, to the end when, still a Catholic monk he travels beyond the confines of Spain to eventually arrive in Amsterdam.

I would highly recommend reading Rocamora to anyone interested in a little-known figure in Spanish history, or if you just want an glimpse into life in 17th century Spain. If nothing else, it will make you appreciate the modern invention of air conditioning, because Catholic Christians of that time in Spain believed bathing and cleanliness to be a sign you were a Jew.

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donroc
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Location: Winter Haven, Florida
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Postby donroc » Thu August 28th, 2008, 2:17 pm

Thank you, Rowan.

FYI, The release of ROCAMORA has been delayed to the end of October 2008and I shall announce it with massive percussion and brass.
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Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6OtI&feature=channel_page

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Fri August 29th, 2008, 4:35 pm

Maybe I should take this review off then. I thought it was due out now. Sorry.

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donroc
Compulsive Reader
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Contact:

Postby donroc » Fri August 29th, 2008, 4:47 pm

You can leave it up. We can refer to it when ROCAMORA is released.
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Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.



http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6OtI&feature=channel_page

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:52 am

Okie doke!!


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