Literary Category: historical fiction
Synopsis: Set in 16th century Spain, this historical novel recounts the dizzying life adventures of a boy and his wild survival with his only weapons: his talent in the kitchen and the ambivalent gift of hypermnesia, or inability to forget, which will lead him to become the master chef Alvar de Mondragón Cepeda.
The first need of every living being—after breathing–, from the moment it is engendered, is food. Absorbing the energy of nature, and perceiving its origin through taste, color and smells. Due to hypermnesia (a congenital rarity that makes it impossible to forget), Alvar de Mondragón remembers them all.
In the Spanish Renaissance, an era full of chaos and intrigue, he will travel the roads in search of every smell, as a “pícaro” and a fugitive. A primordial stimulus guides him: hunger. He will come to learn the culinary arts in a monastery, and to serve in the dangerous dependencies of the Spanish Inquisition before becoming a master, thanks to his learning of the secrets of alchemy in this odyssey full of magic recipes, master formulas and conspiracies.