First off, "Chapman's Homer" is probably not a book for those who have not read Homer before. In fact, it is probably not a book for those unfamiliar with Shakespeare's plays; or, perhaps better, Spenser's Elizabethan Epic, "The Faerie Queene". These will introduce one to the high poetic language of the era; and Spenser to the finding of moral and political significations in events and characters.
It is likely to be fascinating to anyone who is interested in the "reception" of Homer over the centuries, and the different guises translators have given him. They will probably welcome this complete, neatly printed, digital edition.
At a rough guess, something like 95% of the people who recognize the term "Chapman's Homer" at all will do so in association with Keats' 1816 sonnet, "On first looking into Chapman's Homer." Some large proportion of them probably would, if asked, further associate the translation with the Romantic Movement. Others, who perhaps have a better memory for such things, will recall that belongs to the seventeenth century, specifically the early Jacobean period, not long after the death of Elizabeth I.
It was in fact the work of the sometime-playwright George Chapman (1560-1634), who was a fairly successful dramatist in a time when William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were busy producing works of lasting interest. Chapman eventually left the theater, which was not as lucrative for him as for Shakespeare (who was also a partner in his own theater company, and one of its actors).
He became, among other things, a translator from Greek, publishing what are regarded as the first-ever English versions of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" in installments from 1611-1615.
It was almost exactly 200 years later that Keats, who certainly would have known the eighteenth-century Alexander Pope version in "heroic couplets," seems to have stumbled across copies of Chapman. As he wrote "Oft of one wide expanse, had I been told / That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne: / Yet did I never breathe its pure serene / Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold".
Anyone who expects from such praise that Chapman's translations are a long-lost treasure of English literature are probably going to be disappointed. They are extremely interesting, and lack the veneer of classicism and dignity applied by Pope (1715, 1725), and others. However, some of the vocabulary is simply obsolete (this edition includes a glossary, which helps, although it is not properly linked to the text). The meter, to the surprise of many (I would think) is not iambic pentameter, since Milton an accepted "epic meter" for English. This is perhaps just as well, since Chapman used rhymed couplets, and would have found himself in the same strait-jacket as so many English Augustans (leaving aside, for the moment, Dryden and Pope, who seemed to find it roomy enough).
No, Chapman used the well-established "fourteener," in rhyming couplets; an old narrative meter (it had been used in the sixteenth-century Scots English translation of the "Aeneid" by Gavin Douglas) which eventually fell out of favor for serious verse. The "fourteener" never completed faded away; the Victorian poet (and fantasy novelist, and interior designer, and fine printer, and business-man and socialist, etc.) William Morris, used it for, among other things, his epic poem "Sigurd the Volsung," and his own translation of the "Aeneid."
Still, being unfamiliar to many potential readers, it is a meter which almost demands initial reading aloud, to find the rhythm, and with it the syntax of many lines. The fourteen (sometimes fifteen) syllables tend to produce a caesura (pause) about half-way through the line (seven-seven, eight-six, six-eight).
This isn't a great substitute for the Homeric hexameter, but it does allow a more fluid style than some of the alternatives.
What Keats seemed to have missed in his enthusiasm is that Chapman had "bought" the general Renaissance belief that Homer was a subtle allegorist, not just a story-teller. However, Renaissance allegories sometimes seem to be about anything the text suggests; unlike the Augustan reading of the "Odyssey" as a series of moral exempla, with the wily Ulysses (their preferred form) somehow turning into a (more) priggish version of Aeneas.
On the whole, the translation can be read without wading into the "deeper meanings." For those looking for Chapman's "key" to the "real" Homer, it has been the subject of modern studies, including "Homeric Renaissance: The Odyssey of George Chapman," by George de Forest Lord (1956). Copies are sometimes available through Amazon, and elsewhere.
For those who are curious about where Chapman belongs (other than at the beginning) in the long history of Homer translations in English (and don't mind having just his "Iliad" in the package) can try starting with the Delphi Ancient Classics Kindle omnibus, "Complete Works of Homer" (Illustrated). This includes, with a great deal more, Greek texts, and the Alexander Pope translation mentioned above.