The Napoleon of Notting Hill, like so many Chesterton novels, deftly straddles the fence between humor and philosophy. The place is London, in the far-future year of 1984. Inexplicably, not too much has changed since the turn of the century—except that the king is chosen at random. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when the people randomly select an imbecile who only cares about a good joke.
With the new prankster king in place, the novel continues on with surprisingly action-packed breeziness, exploring themes of identity, patriotism, politics, and government.