Eat Him if you Like is based upon the true story of Alain de Monéys, a young nobleman in rural France. At a faire in Hautefaye 16 August, 1790, Alain's cousin, the Vicomte Camille Maillard Lafaye reported that the war against Prussia was going poorly, and that Emperor Napoleon III would loose the war. The townspeople, many drunk already, tried to attack the Vicomte. When he and his entourage ran away, the crown turned on de Monéys. The young man was brutally attacked, tortured, and eventually burned. Some accounts claim that de Monéys was still alive while he was burned, although this can not be proven.
Jean Teule's book is based upon these accounts, describing vividly the attack, much of it from de Monéy's point of view. This book is incredibly graphic, so it may be a *huge* trigger to many people, warning in advance. It's well written, and you can actually see yourself on that hot August day. No rain for months, your crops and livestock dying, the war has been going on for years with no real end in sight...You can feel the tension in the air, the underlying anger, the barely concealed violence. Then on a hot August day it all comes to a head when a nobleman is accused of being a Prussian, the very people you blame for all your misery. The gang mentality overtakes you, causing you to do things you'd never consider doing. You forget that the person you're attacking was your friend yesterday, that he's leaving tomorrow to join the French army, that he's been taking care of your village. That no longer matters, all that matters is slaking your bloodlust.
If you're interested in history or sociology, this book may well appeal to you. It gives good insight and is a stunning example of what happens when a "mob mentality" takes over. I give the book 3 1/2 stars due to the extremely violent content, but I find it griping. Hard to stomach, but hard to put down. Once again, I must warn that it may be incredibly triggering to many people, and that did also help to decrease the rating. All in all, a well written and researched book, highly interesting from a sociological viewpoint, but not at all what I'd call light or entertaining reading.