The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracy, Treason and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant by Robert Hutchinson Phoenix $144 Throughout history, the health of a leader has been of considerable import. The fate of the Middle East now hangs in the balance after Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke. In the 16th century, it was the health of Henry VIII, who made Europe nervous each time he took to the jousting field, that exercised devious minds, and his final years were full of machinations. Robert Hutchison, in The Last Days of Henry VIII, argues that the English monarch suffered a rare hormonal disorder, Cushing's syndrome - as evidenced in the bloated face, his massive bulk, the increasingly frequent bouts of depression, aggression and psychosis. Hutchison tells a good story about the end of Henry's brutal reign - about 150,000 people died at his order, including the odd wife - and the seeds he sowed for the bloodshed that followed. The Vatican closely monitored Henry's health and knew how to read between the lines.