I missed out on getting a copy of this book when Ed Katibah (aka Spatial Ed) was giving them out at his spatial session at a recent conference but I made a mental note to buy a copy and read it. I've finally got to do so.
This is a truly excellent book. I think the title belies the contents. I hadn't been in a hurry to read it as I thought it would just be a "beginner" level book on using spatial data in SQL Server 2008. How wrong I was. This book covers so much of what you need to know to make effective use of spatial data. It spends time on explaining spatial concepts, proceeds to describe the data types and later thoroughly covers all the methods offered by the types. But the real bonus is the in depth coverage of how to use the spatial types in a practical way. Alastair spends time covering geocoding data, building a SQLCLR-based function for geocoding, building procs to return data, building a web handler to offer spatial feeds, building mashups with both GoogleMaps and VirtualEarth using the feeds, etc.
I've been running spatial conference and training sessions all over the world and really wasn't expecting to see much new material in the book but reading the book has given me so many new ideas on how I could use the spatial types in better ways. This book is highly practical and should be on the shelf of anyone working with spatial data in SQL Server 2008.