Disclosure: I received a free PDF of this product for review purposes.
About a decade ago, I first played Dark Dungeon at a Dutch convention. I was impressed by the game system, but moreso by the world of Dark Dungeon. A Dutch-made fantasy game, the game world has more similarities to the more low-fantasy bits of the Old World of Warhammer Fantasy than to the shininess of Dungeons & Dragons and similar games.
It's a bit darker and more of a low-magic setting, inspired by classic fantasy novels and Europe's history.
This book is big. More than 300 pages of actual content, 322 pages total from cover to cover. There are multiple indexes, for Contacts (NPCs) and places but also for every type of skill in Dark Dungeon. In general, the book has an old-school and slightly eclectic feel, which I enjoy very much but may not be for everyone. Art is black & white throughout and doesn't distract from reading the book.
Samaris is an island big and interesting enough to serve as a setting on its own. However, the setup also makes it easy to drop the island into any fantasy setting. What I like about this book as a GM is the huge amount of story hooks and characters. Even if you play other games, you'll be able to use a lot of the NPCs to enrich your story.
Just leafing through Samaris when you're preparing for a session will probably give you a bunch of little or not so little additional ideas you can use to make your story shine that much brighter.
Though there's a lot of general information for players that can be used with any game system, I must say that Samaris is most useful for Dark Dungeon players. There are additional careers and a lot of interesting information, not all of which converts easily to other game settings.
The best part for me is the section which walks you through creating a character that ties into the setting. This should be mandatory for any player in any game because it promotes a focus on relationships with people in the setting who are not the PCs.
Samaris is more than a city book or setting, it's a companion volume. It's very useful for GMs who run any fantasy or semi-historical game up to (roughly) 7th Sea in timeline. It's even more useful if you want to give Dark Dungeon a try, where it's also a great resource for any player. For non-Dark Dungeon players, Samaris is less useful but still worth it.
The book has some rough edges in terms of art and isn't flashy and full of color like many RPG's are currently, which gives it an indie and old-school feel. I don't mind this, but I mention it because I realize that looks count for a lot.
Samaris is a great book and I will be getting the print version ASAP.