Well-written satire that is still as funny today as it was when it was published.
I believe this is Steinbeck’s only satirical novel and although it does poke fun at French politics, there’s more to it than that.
The book, a fabrication in case you weren’t sure, is about Pippin Héristal, an amateur astronomer who is proclaimed the King of France as he’s descended from Charlemagne. He is really appointed to give some people with revolutionary intent a monarchy to revolt against.
Pippin becomes king but dislikes the lack of a private life and living at Versailles. However, what really upsets him is that although he’s an all-powerful king and people do as he asks, Pippin doesn’t seem to be able to change anything. He’s not disappointed when he’s deposed and goes back to his former life to find that nothing has really changed. Plus ca change.