I've been teaching 3D Game Prototyping for the past 10 years, and for the past 2 years have solely used the Unreal Game Engine in my classroom. I was psyched to find out last year that there was going to be a new Unreal manual that would be an alternative to bulky and hard to use Mastering Unreal Series of books.
This book was a big disappointment. For the past year, there has been a free version of the Unreal Engine Editor collectively known as UDK or the Unreal Development Kit. Prior to that was an older version known usually as the UT3 Editor and Engine. This book is on the older version of Unreal, not the newer one.
There is a belief that somehow there is little difference between the two development systems, which is not true. The bulk of my time prepping my Prototyping course has been revising all my handouts and lectures to work in UDK. Almost everything had to be changed. So if you want to use this book for UDK, expect to be frustrated, and be aware that although the author claims that this book can be used for both UT3 and UDK, the few references to UDK in the book are inaccurate, such as giving the wrong file extension for a UDK level file.
This book was also rushed. For example there is no index. My students and I have found mistakes and errors, and it just seems that someone wrote this book, but no one ever sat down to actually make sure that what is in the book makes sense. To its benefit, there is a good chapter on how to make a weapon in 3DS Max and bring it into Unreal, as well as some in depth character information. And one thing that the Mastering Unreal series has going for it is that the books include all the content discussed in the book. There is no CD with this new book and no downloadable content from the book's page on the publisher's site.
Regrettably there is no alternative book, so now there are 3 overpriced books that can partially assist you in learning how to use Unreal technology, and none of them are relevant to the latest version of the system that is available. If you are looking for reference information you can try going to [...], and trying to use the hodge podge of docs that are available. In the end the place my students go to most often, are the new UDK specific tutorials that are available from download from the udk site and available in streaming format from [...].
Unreal is a powerful technology and worth the effort, but just be prepared to spend a lot of time cursing and surfing the user forum for answers.