- "The name's Robert Topping. Best bookie in all of London, at your disposal. Well, second best, but me mum says Donald's a bit of a nincompoop!"
- ―Topping introducing himself to the Frye twins, 1868.[src]
Robert Ignatius Topping (born 1847) was a bookie active in London's underworld, organizing carriage races and fistfight tournaments throughout the city during the mid-19th century. He was also an associate of Assassins Jacob and Evie Frye, who regularly participated in his events.
Topping was born in London, the fifth of eight children. Since he had many siblings, he was often left to his own devices by his parents, who could not afford him much attention. While he was generally content making his own fun, Topping frequently daydreamed of a more exciting life.
One day, Topping reportedly got seperated from his siblings during a family outing to the market and could not find them again. Tired from wandering, he fell asleep in a crate, which was later moved to the mobile stores of a traveling circus. Fascinated by the nomadic lifestyle of the circus performers, Topping stayed with them, absorbing all the knowledge the acrobats, harlequins, and ringmasters had to offer.
Eventually, the crew disbanded, leading Topping to return to his family in London, though they doubted the stories he told them to explain his absence. Sometime after, Topping entered into the employment of his own uncle, who ran a number of illegitimate businesses.
Associate of the Frye twins
- Topping: "I ask you, m'lord, can't a gentl'man wander the tracks?"
- Guard: "How did you break into the laboratory? The entrance is hidden."
- ―Topping being interrogated, 1868.[src]
In 1868, Topping journeyed to Croydon and managed to enter a secret laboratory that was being used by the Templar scientist David Brewster. However, he was caught and apprehended, with the guards believing he was a spy sent by Henry Green. On the orders of Brewster, Topping was taken to a nearby building and interrogated, though he easily talked circles around the two Blighters.
The Assassin Evie Frye came to his rescue, dispatching the interrogators before they could seriously harm Topping. However, she quickly made it clear that she had only intervened because he knew of the laboratory's location and declined to free him, even after he had divulged all that he knew. Thus, Topping used his carnival skills to escape his bonds, vanishing while Evie had her back turned.
Sometime after, Topping returned to London, where he worked as a bookie for underground prize-fighting and street racing rings. To his surprise, he encountered Evie, and her twin brother Jacob, again and explained his role in London's underworld, encouraging them to enter in some of the events as well.