"Written in a simple, lucid prose humorously reminiscent of Sir Thomas Malory's style, this episodic tale concerns the poor but carefree 'paisano' Danny and his friends Pillon, Pablo, Big Joe Portagee, Jesus Maria Corcoran, and the old Pirate, all of whom gather in Danny's house, which Steinbeck tells us 'was not unlike the Round Table.' The novel (accepted after nine publishers had turned it down) contrasts the complexities of modern civilization with the simple life of the 'paisanos.' There is in the story Steinbeck's usual glorification of irresponsibility when joined with kindness." Herzberg. reader's Ency of Am Lit. *** "Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a 'Camelot' on shabby hillside above Monterey on the California coast and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. As Steinbeck chronicles their thoughts and emotions, temptations and lusts, he spins a tale as compelling, and ultimately as touched by sorrow, as the famous legends of the Round Table."