In this book Sir Martin provides the reader with a snapshot of our current understanding of Cosmology, adding historical context when he feels it is necessary. If you want a blow by blow account of stellar development, inflation, extra-solar planets or any of the multitude of other topics discussed, then this is not the book for you. However, if you want to get a feeling for the current understanding of the universe, for what are regarded as the triumphs and failures of modern cosmology, for the areas of controversy, and for what are likely to be the growth areas in cosmological research in the next decade and beyond, all explained in a clear and lucid style by somebody who has himself been a leading researcher in the field for many years, then I can definitely recommend this book to you.
The book starts with an overview of what is currently known about the formation and development of stars, planets and galaxies. Along the way he begins to develop the central theme of the book, one that clearly fascinates him, and one that can be summed up in the question, 'why is our universe so biophilic?'. Perhaps it is chance? Maybe there is a designer? Or perhaps our universe is simply one of a huge multiverse, one in which conditions favour the evolution of life? Sir Martin's money is clearly on the latter idea which he argues for very persuasively.