I made this purchase as I am embarking on a degree course in Planetry Science. I bought the product speculatively, there were so many results on Amazon when I searched the term 'Astrobiology' that it took quite a long time before finally making a decision. That is not to say the book did not catch my eye quite early in my search.
Having read the book I believe I made the right choice, the author has done a wonderful job in writing this and has clearly done his research. This is very apparent when he explores the possibilities for biological evolution in our own planetry neighborhood, there are some surprises along the way, but the possibilities and drawbacks are reinforced by solid explanations.
I am also pleased to say that this book really gauges your interest, I literally could not stop reading. Rather than just present fact and speculation as they are, the author has gone to some length to tap into your imagination and keep you reading. Some the chapters just drift by without you realizing how much you have taken in. For this reason I will be reading parts of it again.
A beginners guide? Yes and No, there is some serious academic reading here. One of the reasons I held off from buying the book at first was the subtitle, A Beginners Guide. Again I will be re-reading parts of this book because it does contain some quite complex scientific facts. Especially where DNA, RNA and cellular evolution are concerned, but this is a credit to both the book and it's author.