It has been a while since I read this book, but this is by far the most authoritative and scholarly account of Henry VIII. It has been around a while but it remains the standard biography of the king. Scarisbrick knows his man, and while being scholarly, writes in a way which makes this work accessible to academia and layperson alike.
Scarisbrick takes the reader through a thorough exploration of the primary sources and gives us Henry's true role in the momentous events of his reign:- the divorce, break with Rome, establishment of the Church of England and the growing power of parliament (thanks to Henry's use of it to achieve his ends). Despite his break from the Pope, Scarisbrick shows Henry to be a typical ruler of the period, and basically a conservative Catholic at heart.
This current edition is a great benefit to the reader as in the foreword Scarisbrick has taken stock of new research and works on Henry VIII, and that, thanks to these new works, he has revised his opinions in some areas since originally writing this: especially in his assertion that Henry and Catherine of Aragon's marriage was invalid due to a technical flaw in the papal dispensation. The great strength of this book though is chapter 7, which is a superb study of the canonical technicalities of the divorce.
In short, this book is a must-read for anybody interested in Henry VIII, both the layperson and the scholar.