If you know C++ at a reasonable level (meaning pointers , references structures and classes don't scare or confuse you)
this is book is a very good starting point in your directx quest.
It has the advantage of not spending hundreds of pages on windows programming details or even worse on GDI like the many LaMothelian game programming series books...but it gives you a little framework in which to work with and it explains how it works and why.
Subject coverage is very good, and you will get explanations and working code on interesting subjects like terrain renedering and
mesh loading and manipulating and a bonus of a couple chapters on pixel and vertex shaders. Now this is definitely what I would call advanced topics.. but even if you are a beginner it is nice to read about them just to figure out what these mysteriously sounding entities are ;)
My only grudge with this book is that it is quite a little one.
Lenghtier explanations and a few more examples would could really benefit the beginner.. especially since like for many books of this kind the author is more a programmer than a technical author or tutor so the writing style is pretty much like: here are the basic points about the theory and here is the program I wrote to show you how it works. So you won't get much from this book if you don't dig a lot in the code. The difference with many other similar book on the market is that the author gives you at least some good assistance into it.
Ps. Luna has a new book out on D3D, you might wnat to get that one..