Microsoft's now ubiquitous SQL Server database engine is far more complicated than it first appears. Apart from the voluminous administrative tasks it can accomplish and support, it provides a vast set of commands for data retrieval and manipulation known as "Transact-SQL" or "T-SQL." In the spirit of Wrox books, this book is big, red, and dedicated to a single topic: this very T-SQL toolset.
Fifteen chapters comprising over 600 pages covers everything a T-SQL beginner needs. Introductory chapters provide background information on Relational Databases, the versions of SQL Server, database normalization, and tools available in SQL Server (many of which are beyond this book's scope).
A detailed discussion of T-SQL syntax finally appears in Chapter 4, but the real meat begins in Chapter 5 with the universal command SELECT. Subsequqnt chapters provide explanations and copious code examples (for both SQL Server 2005 and 2008) for SQL Functions (e.g., AVG(), DATEADD(), CONVERT(), etc.), grouping, joins, subqueries, cursors, transactions (with error handling via TRY and CATCH), the handy but unintuitive PIVOT, a discussion of objects (in database speak this means things such as tables, views, procedures and functions), query optimization (with graphical execution plans) and a concluding chapter that rolls T-SQL into an application development and reporting context. Appendices follow with quick references to the tools discussed.
This is a beginner's book. Although it does delve into what some feel are more advanced topics such as transactions and stored procedures, these receive beginner to intermediate level coverage. In any case, even beginners should have some familiarity with these T-SQL features.
Those new to T-SQL or seeking a refresh will find ample discussions of the basics here. This gargantuan book won't get anyone up to speed quickly, but it provides enough detail so that beginners will exit this book as knowledgeable T-SQL users.