I read Master and Commander in November '06, a turning season in my life. Then I immediately went and got Post Captain from the library, and when I was finished that, bought HMS Surprise full price. And wish I could find the entry where someone rec'd Post Captain as the least nautical of the books. But I tried to read The Mauritius Command for three months that winter and finally gave it up.
I discover that I read Clarissa Oakes out of order in April, a fact I'd totally forgotten.
Come Oct '07 I was chugging along with Desolation Island and The Fortune of War. I skipped two volumes over to Treason's Harbour, then gave up and returned to sequential order with The Surgeon's Mate. In the spring of '08, post-op, I was still trying to read its sequel, The Ionian Mission. Never finished that, don't think I ever finished Treason's Harbour either.
And then it seems I read no O'Brian for two and a half years, until a sudden whim started me on The Far Side of the World on the Labour Day weekend. Finished it last night, and promptly went out to get the next volume. It always vaguely surprises me how O'Brians can be so different from each other, while often being so much the same. I found the international politics of The Ionian Mission and Treason's Harbour tedious; but this one-- oh dear, so many doujinshi moments. Castrating Amazons and near-death experiences, plural, oh my my.
There is also, as Jack remarks, an awful lot of weather in it-- weird and violent weather. In an instance of pathetic fallacy, the cool fall weather we've been having for two and a half weeks changed last night, as I bicycled over to BMV, to an uneasy greasy warm mug, which was followed at 2 am by violent thunder and lightning. Very tropical tempestuous indeed.
And The Reverse of the Medal turns out to be the book I've been avoiding all these years, and now I suppose I have to read it. Or possibly, skip to The Letter of Marque.