Flash has been repositioning itself lately as more of a general game development runtime. And the latest extension in that direction is Stage3D. While Flash has had a few minor forays into 3D, the new Flash 11 Stage3D is the first real genuine hardware-accelerated 3D for Flash. The rest were little hacks or software renderers built on Flash's 2D pipeline. With Stage3D, Flash's 3D capabilities are roughly on the same plane capability-wise as Unity 3D and WebGL.
But Stage3D is something entirely "other" than Flash's existing graphical pipeline. While Stage3D shares the existing AS3 scripting as Flash, it is otherwise a 3D engine built into Flash with its own pipeline and API. So you have some new learning to do. And that's where Adobe Flash 11 Stage3D (Molehill) Game Programming comes into play. It's an end-to-end tutorial on how to build a 3D game in Flash using Stage3D (codenamed "Molehill", hence the long-winded title). And it is a good start for people who may know Flash but don't know their 3D. Stage3D is a very capable thing if you've seen the demos, but it's also not something you can just enable by renaming your DisplayObject-based hierarchy to something else.
The book was clearly written and released before Stage3D went gold. And, at the time of this review, Stage3D is still awaiting general release for standalone mobile games. So there are a couple of URL links that point to beta information that may or may not still be there. In any case, Stage3D-enabled Flash is now in general release, so a little googling will find you all of the tools the author mentions.
I do have one quibble with Adobe Flash 11 Stage3D Etc., and that's with its selection of tools. One thing I like to see in a book is usage of free tools if they are available and high quality. And the book is written so that you can build the examples with the (free) Flex SDK and (free) FlashDevelop as well as the (not free) FDT and Flash Professional. But the author doesn't extend this courtesy to 3D tools. All the examples are done with 3DS Max even though the author says that Blender 3D will also work. And even if 3DS Max is a superior tool for getting the job done, you're doing the reader a service if you let him build a "proof of concept" without much cash outlay. A couple of pages on connecting Blender with Stage3D would have been welcome.
That said, this book is a very well-done tutorial. As a bit of kitsch, the book is structured like a game, with each chapter covering a "level" of the 3D programming adventure. The chapters are well structured without any further cutesy-ness. Despite its size (350+ pages, big for a Packt title), it still doesn't cover everything, but it does cover enough to build a complete game, a spaceship/alien shooter. Some things, like the shader language, are covered to the extent that you can get started and with a link to further information if you want it. The author also shows how to make existing Flash 2D content work with Stage3D. And that's awfully handy for building your surrounding score/health UI, HUD display, main menus, etc. After all, if it's there and it works, there's not much point in abandoning it.
Adobe Flash 11 Stage3D (Molehill) Game Programming is, like many Packt titles, a pretty narrowly-focused work that intends to cover one topic comprehensively. And it does that well.