Many moons (and about four jobs) ago, a wise DBA by the name of David Hanson once recommended to me a book called Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed. I took his advice, bought a copy, and it rapidly became one of the most dog-eared and oft-thumbed computing books I have ever owned. It is comprehensive, deep, broad, well-written and covers everything one might ever wish to know about SQL Server 2000. With its help and guidance I came to love and respect Microsoft's premier database product, passing the 70-229 exam by a comfortable margin.
So, following the release of SQL Server 2005, I was hoping that SAMS would publish a similar tome about that new platform. Once said book was announced, I pre-ordered* a copy, and I'm delighted to report that after many months of patient waiting, the sequel (sorry) landed on my desk last week - and for a computing book, it's simply awesome.
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Unleashed is even bigger than it's predecessor. In fact, it's so large that eight chapters have been left out of the physical book, and are included only in a PDF version supplied on CD-ROM. These aren't just padding or filler, either - they're solid chapters on interesting topics as Notification Services, Service Broker, Recovery Planning, and T-SQL Tips n Tricks. Including the bonus chapters, the whole package weighs in at over 2,000 pages - no wonder I had to wait a while for its publication!
I think you would be hard-pressed to find any other single SQL 2005 book which covers quite so much material to such depth. While perhaps not being suitable for beginners, for those with some experience of SQL Server or other relational database products, this book works on many levels - reference, tutorial, guidance, or just as an interesting read. If you work with, or anticipate working with, SQL 2005, then you owe it to yourself to get a copy now!
* I hate this term, but that's what Amazon call it - "pre-order". Whilst I understand the implication, I don't think there's any real linguistic difference between "ordering" and "pre-ordering". Even less so the distinction between to "book" and to "pre-book", a service offered by some cinemas...