The book covers the basics of using Metasploit with other related tools (SET and Fast-Track). If the reader is expecting to become a penetration tester expert by reading this book then I will say that the expectations are wrong. The author has managed to put in a single book the methodology used for penetration testing, named as PTES (Penetration Testing Execution Standard) and described as the redefined methodology for penetration testing and a general overview of the Metasploit framework, how it works, how is composed and how you can leverage the power of using this framework to make adaptations in different situations or scenarios. Also the author has recalled the fact that every situation is different and the penetration tester should deal with obstacles that he may find in the way to exploit a system.
The author begins the book by describing the PTES methodology and also referring the user to the penetration standard organization website in order to get more information (for people that are new in penetration testing). Then the author moves on with the metasploit basics, explaining the terminology and how the framework is composed. It also makes a brief explanation about Metasploit Express and Metasploit Pro. In the Chapter 2 the book deals with an important step (information gathering), if not the most important, when conducting a penetration test. People tend to overlook this step because sometimes it will not have the "expected" fun necessary but users should understand that the success of exploiting a system is the time spent on gathering information of the target. The information gathering process, in this book, covers the identification of the target and the discovery of different applications or possible attack vectors. In the very beginning of the book, in chapter 2, the author explain briefly how to import databases from other tools such as vulnerability scanners in order to conduct exploits with some kind of automation. Some people will remember the autopwn option in Metasploit, this option is not longer available anymore in the framework (the framework changes everytime). I really don't know the reason why. But, as to import hosts and related information from Nessus, Nexpose, nmap will be very helpful for the penetration tester.
The complexity will be a little bit higher with every new chapter. I think that more than explaining every single module, structure and syntax of commands of the framework the author has focused on how it works and set us the basics in order to get more experience in the tool by discovering what can we do with it, how we can add our features or modules and how we can use the framework with other tools such as SET and Fast-Track. I found useful the way the user explain how to create our own auxiliary, exploit modules within the framework using Ruby as the programming language(you will need some basics in programming in order to get the most of these chapters). The use of the mixins, the structure of the coding is something you will have to pay attention if you want to develop your own modules and tools within Metasploit. In chapter 8 the author begins with the interesting part. He explains the client-side attacks and introduces us to terms such as the heap and the other chapters will deal a little bit more with the stack. The reader must have some understanding of how you can perform a buffer overflow, how you can insert your code after exploiting a given application and how to introduce some stealth in your code in order to get around of the IPS, IDS and AV solutions. The author also explains the use of encoders in order to bypass security solutions. By the way, I have to mention that the meterpreter payload is detectable in a lot of security solutions so that's why the author encourages the reader to be more creative at the moment of target exploitation.
In conclusion, the book is a good one for beginners and to understand what the Metasploit framework is and how you can use it. Most of the material can be found in the project website but not at the same detail level as the book. The book will show you the basics of the framework, don't expect to become an expert after this. The basis will help you to understand how to leverage the functionality of the tool and how to create your own code, workaround some difficulties in the process and most of all encourage people to contribute to the tool. There are some things that the author assumes that the reader should know and therefore some chapters can become some confusing. But, take the references and give you the opportunity to practice with the tool and surely in the future you will manage to port exploits from other sources and develop your own code.