The ever smart and book savvy Victoria at Eve's Alexandria is reading Master and Commander. Funny, when I sell the Aubrey-Maturin series ( which I do. A lot. It is my passion ....well, one of them). I usually tell the prospective reader to read Post Captain (2) or HMS Surprise (3-----and my favourite of the canon ) as there is more action and plot drive and one is less likely to feel swatted over the head with incongruous waves of nautical terminology.
Somehow, I think our blogger friend ( and I am surmising based on my sheer passion for O'Brian alone ) will read book the first, be engaged by the almost Austen-like circumstance and the witty rapport of even the inaugural ( and very different ) scene and be off; loving Maturin for the next 20 books, loathing Diana, and enjoying a canvas painted with sea, scope, flora, fauna, and cello music.