Ugo has had a tough life. His mother committed suicide so she wouldn't have to die from the plague. His father and brother treated him life garbage until one day he had enough and left. In his travels, he fell in love with a girl and they had a child, Miranda. His wife died in childbirth. They had a small farm that was doing poorly when the Duke happened upon his land. Angry that Ugo's land has disturbed the Duke's hunt, the Duke decides that he must become his new food taster.
Ugo and Miranda move to the Duke's castle and Ugo starts tasting the Duke's food for poison. He finds that he can no longer enjoy his food anymore since he's so worried about dying. Everything he does is to try and keep himself and his daughter safe and alive. This leads to some pretty crazy situations, including getting the Duke's girlfriend killed for thinking and pretending there was poison in his food when there wasn't.
Ugo isn't very smart and doesn't always make the right decision, but he's always trying to do best for his daughter. This includes as she grows up and trying to find the right husband for her. There's a boy in the kitchen that tries to trade Miranda's hand in marriage for information to Ugo about possible poisoning of his dishes.
This was a fun book. Ugo got in to some very unique and troublesome situations. His heart was always in the right place though, he was a pretty likable character.
First Line: "For years after my mother hanged herself, I wished I had been older or stronger so that I could have stopped her."