Amidst all the filth and debauchery, our Robin is quite the clean-cut hero by comparison. However, Coote speculates that there may be lost tales that depict him in a less salubrious light. She also reminds us of his recorded acts of violence and criminal behaviour. The original Robin Hood ballads portray him and his men as brutal killers, not flinching at beheading a poor, blameless boy novice. Medieval audiences lapped it up: Coote estimates that some 2,000 printed books on Robin were in circulation c.1500. She explains that his seeming excesses can be excused because he was ‘just a servant’ of the Virgin Mary. (There is a prominent strain of Marian devotion in the Robin Hood tales.) Coote enlighteningly emphasises the moral message that links all of the tales she discusses.