The dreary succession of randomly selected Kings of England is broken up when Auberon Quin, who cares for nothing but a good joke, is chosen. To amuse himself, he institutes elaborate costumes for the provosts of the districts of London. All are bored by the King's antics except for one earnest young man who takes the cry for regional pride seriously - Adam Wayne, the eponymous Napoleon of Notting Hill. Michael Collins, who led the fight for Irish independence from British Rule, is known to have admired the book.There has been speculation that the setting of the book prompted the date chosen for the setting of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.The novel is also quoted at the start of Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere.
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