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The Bagman

(The Abigail Cobble Trilogy #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Run, run, as fast as you can…
In the midst of World War II, Abigail is deposited at St Winifred’s Orphanage for Wilful, Wicked and Wayward children. She is told of the Bagman and how he will get her if she misbehaves. But Abigail must escape and find her estranged twin, Tabitha. Besides, she doesn’t believe in the Bagman.
But he believes in her.
The Bagman challenges her to
Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Kindle
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Rachael McKay Hi Robtion,
I've taken The Bagman down at the moment as it's being professionally edited and will be re-released next year. If you'd like to keep in to…more
Hi Robtion,
I've taken The Bagman down at the moment as it's being professionally edited and will be re-released next year. If you'd like to keep in touch with its progress, subscribe to my website ( or check out the Facebook Page (

It's so lovely to hear you're interested in reading it, I'm planning to release a few edited chapters soon so it would be great to keep in touch!
All the best,

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Kagama-the Literaturevixen

At some point I added this to my TBR list and forgot about it for a while until it popped up again and I really liked the cover- maybe it was the cover of a strange figure in a tophat carrying a bag and looking at girl through his spyglass. But now I have read it and it didnt let me down.

We find our protagonist in front of the gates of an orphanage following an incident with a pig at her last orphanage (no one was hurt...well at least not badly) so 15 yea
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of
If Belinda Pepper's brilliant cover design for The Bagman puts you in mind of Roald Dahl a la Tim Burton... prepare to have your expectations surpassed.

This is a middle-grade-and-up fantasy-horror tale, where characterization and caricaturization blend and blur in environments as much as in secondary characters.

Rippon's engaging storytelling style and "just-enough" approach to myth-building balanced this reader at the proper angle to compel momentum: only my need to catch a connecting flight co
P. Kirby
Dec 18, 2014 rated it liked it
A story that features one of the most despicable collections of adults I've read; that says a lot in a genre (YA) where adults are usually asshats.

It's the height of World War II. The Germans are merrily bombing the crap out of England. But Abigail Cobble, an orphan, has bigger problems. Having spent most of the last few years being bounced from one orphanage to another, she is on her way to a new home, St. Winnifred's. St. Winnifred's is an orphanage of last resort where really incorrigible ch
Emily Anne
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of middle grade or young adult lovers looking for a refreshing read
I was going to review The Bagman in August, but I just found out I accidentally marked it in for December on my calendar! My reviewing schedule runs by my calendar. *sigh* Thankfully, I caught my error yesterday while I was scrolling through the months and today I am writing a review for the book. I cannot believe I didn't realize my big mistake sooner.

The Bagman blew my mind. I would definitely recommend this to fans of middle grade or young adult lovers looking for a refreshing read. The book
Y. Correa
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Abigail is a orphan. She has a twin that was adopted by an aunt. Abigail herself, had not been adopted by the aunt as she'd been dubbed “the evil” twin. Somehow, in the attempt to draw closer to her twin, as they were approaching their 16th birthday and had to open a present left to them by their mother, Abigail manages to land herself in the worst orphanage in the area.

Right off the bat, she is put in the “evil kid radar” by the Sister's who each have very colorful personalities. More than that
Queen Spades
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: royally-favored
(warning: slight spoilers)

I found the synopsis of the story quite enthralling and there was enough pacing in the action to keep me invested. There weren't any glaring mistakes as it pertains to improper spelling or grammar, which was very soothing to my eyes.

There were quite a few things the author did extremely well.

She did have quite a few dynamic characters in the story. For me, however, one of the dynamic characters did not include Abigail.

The character that kept me the most invested in thi
George Little
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This was the first children's book I've read since forever. And to me, it reads like a beautiful, historical period film behind sepia shaded lens. The dark fantasy aspect reminded me of Coraline, and like Gaiman's book, this is certainly a work of art. It's freaky for children and adults alike:


The title character's apparent despise or distrust of people was intriguing from the beginning. Add our young heroine, the wilful and 'wayward' Abigail, to the mix, and we have a recipe for a very fascina
Jeridel Banks
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Looking into another world through mysterious doors might seem like a wonderful thing for Alice, but for some orphaned teens in Rachael Rippon’s The Bagman, that other world only holds nightmares and death. When Abigail Cobble is transferred to a new orphanage, she hears rumors of the Bagman, a treacherous creature feeding off the fears of humans. Her small world is suddenly thrown upside down when she strikes a deal with the Bagman.

The Bagman is no ordinary tale of good versus evil. Just as in
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-books
This was a great start to a new series. Abigail is an orphan who starts a game with a Bagman, a boogeyman type creature that feeds off the fear of humans. I loved the writing and story and am keeping an eye out for the continuation in the sequel.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review originally posted here

It's been a while since I read a book that was in this kind of setting, mood and plot-type. The time period (WWII) isn't one that I read often. Generally, books that I tend to pick are set between the Victorian era and the 20's, a medieval setting, present day or future time periods. This book was a good one to read to get back to the culture that was present during WWII without dealing with the war a lot. (part of the reason I don't read war-time books is because th
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
My Review:
This book was my pick for My TBR List feature.

I was rather excited to get into this book, the synopsis was really interesting and I was looking forward to a good middle grade book with a scary story, however that is not what I got. Now don't get me wrong I actually enjoyed this book. I loved the main character Abigail and I really felt bad for her but she was suppose to be a 16 year old girl but I felt more like she was 10. Most of the girls in the orphanage seemed a lot younger than
Nikki Bennett
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this, I thought of Neil Gaimon. The creepy, sinister feel to it was very similar, and one I enjoyed very much.The Bagman is a very original and fun story, well-told and with some great characters, especially the Bagman. He’s evil and repulsive, yet I found myself very sympathetic to his plight, and while I wasn’t rooting for him to win, I was certainly compelled by his character.

I loved the despicible nuns. When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading stories about ghastly, h
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a good, fast-paced read. It has a dark feel, but in a good way, reminiscent of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, or Coraline. I enjoyed the unique setting of World War II. Not many children's or young adult fiction books are set in that era - however, I would have actually liked to have gotten just a little bit more period detail though, given that for most people at that time, the world was about discerning good and evil, and the lines between the two. Hopefully this will ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it

I am a fan of the Oxford comma.

This book is not.

I'm not trying to sound petty, but it really did make the book a strain to read at times. There were also a lot of commas placed in, at, random, times, that, drove, me, nuts.

It's a cool little story though. Abigail Cobble deliberately misbehaves and gets thrown around England, bouncing from orphanage to orphanage, with the hope of one day getting placed in a town near her twin sister.

She gets her wish. The orphanage is an awful place, plus it comes
I got this book as a free download off of Barnes & Noble. It still may be (hint, hint).

Reading the story, evoked for me, memories of Neil Gaiman, but since for me NG sometimes crosses that line of "creepy I'm enjoying this" to "creepy....that was gross, I'm not so into this anymore" a tamer touch was an enjoyable read.

Also, the story presents a new otherworldly character, a new take on the "Boogie man" as it were. And the world building is so creditable that you begin to question your memory...B
Harmony Kent
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Meet Abigail Cobble, who has just been sent to an orphanage for the naughtiest of naughty children. She was separated from her twin following the death of their mother, and has deliberately gotten herself sent to St Winnifreds in order to be nearer to where she knows her sister is. What she doesn't plan for is The Bagman. He thrives on fear and despair, and is as cunning as they come. Abigail is unwittingly pulled into his sinister game, and quickly discovers that you have to be VERY careful wha ...more
Ritu Gupta
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Abigail is an orphan separated from her twin sister. There is a family legend, something about being born as twins and then at age 16, one turns evil and one is good - there is a locket that keeps these innate qualities in check, allowing the girls to be themselves... seemed overly complicated.

Each orphanage has a bagman attached to it who is used to keep the orphans in check by scaring them etc. Don't do this or that else the bagman will get you. In return, the bagman gets to pick victims to pl
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dark Fairy Tale

The Bagman is a dark fairy tale reminiscent of monsters under the bed and the boogeyman. Never had the phrase 'be careful what you wish for' been so relevant.

Abigail is an orphan, desperate to get back to her twin sister, from whom she was separated six years ago. Along the way, she attracts the attention of the local Bagman, a sort of boogeyman created by bad emotions. He entices her into a game of sorts, and grants her seven wishes. Each wish, like the story of the money claw,
I LOVED this book! Even though it's been about a year since I read The Bagman, I can still remember how good it was. And while I didn't give it a 5-star rating (I'm pretty stingy with those) I would absolutely say it was worth a very high 4.5 stars.

I read a LOT of middlegrade/YA fantasies and mysteries because the authors are SO very creative and have such great imaginations. The Bagman does not disappoint in either department. This is one of those stories that will suck you in from the beginnin
Ryan Guy
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Seeing the mantra be careful what you wish for come to life is a blast in this fast-paced somber party!

The ambience of this fantasy/horror tale is perfect for the younger YA crowd. Dark, but not too dark. Creepy, but not too creepy. Scary, but not too--okay, you get the point.

The hook of the story, an orphan trying to outthink an all-too-real boogeyman in a diabolical game they're playing against each other, reeled me in and kept me interested.

Additional subplots add depth to the characters and
Olivia (Bookcomet)
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think that this would be a fantastic book for middle grade readers. It is very unique because it introduces bagmen, which I have never really come across in reading before.


- The settings was great. They were described very well which made the story very easy to picture.
- The characters were likeable and understandable.
- I loved Rachael Rippon's writing style because it was a little creepy and was very entertaining.
- The main character Abigail was intelligent.
- There were a few good tw
Alisha Howard
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! The Bagman had me at the first few sentences, when we’re thrust into the world where little kids’ nightmares indeed come true. I loved the main character, Abigail, who reminds me of a paranormal Nancy Drew. Abigail is determined to find out who the Bagman really is and conquer him so that she can finally reunite with her long lost twin.
The book is well paced and that kept me firmly submerged in the characters’ world. My favorite character was the head nun! She seemed to kn
Candice Mckinney
Mar 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Abigail and Tabitha are twins who have been separated since they were 10 when their mother died. Tabitha was adopted by an aunt but Abigail has been living in different orphanges for several years. The twins are almost 16 and Abigail is trying to find her twin before their birthday. She has two lockets that the girls should start wearing by their 16th birthday. One of them will be the evil twin. Abigail is desperate to escape the orphanage and find her twin so she makes a deal with the Bagman. I ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A rollicking, twisting tale reminiscent of Roald Dahl's "Matilda" with some of Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" mixed in.

Abigail Cobble is an orphan in search of her twin sister Tabitha. While at the dismal St. Winifred's orphanage, she runs afoul of The Bagman, a mysterious creature that Abby thought was just a legend used by the nuns to scare naughty orphans into behaving.

But the Bagman is all too real and soon Abby is coerced into playing his Game. But is she clever enough to win her freedom... and h
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A pair of twins - one destined to be good, the other evil. A set of ancient lockets, each containing a talisman that lets the wearer remain her true self. An orphanage run by sadistic nuns. And a sinister, fear-eating Bagman, who tricks children into playing his Game.
I devoured this book in two quick days, while riding a bus from one city to another. If you enjoy fantasy, paranormal, and/or adventure reads, this novel - the first in what promises to be an exciting trilogy - is for you.
Tracey Meredith
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a well crafted book with engaging characters. The story is gripping and compelling- possibly too gripping for the faint of heart. If the intended recipient scares easily, you might want to read it first. The Bagman is not a kind creature and the story is, after all, fantasy-horror. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and if this is a genre you favour, I assure you that you won't want to put it down once you've started it. ...more
Nina Fonteneau-Fuentes
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-this
The story unfolds at a great pace wherein we find out there is a family who only has twins, a cursed family. We follow one twin who is orphaned and sent to an inescapable orphanage, and then a horror called the Bagman makes her realize the stories her mother told her and the supernatural are all real.

If you like Lemmony Snicket, the plight of orphans and monsters that have a Garth Nix feel and also not being able to tell what will happen next then this is a really good book!
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun, engaging, and interesting book. I didn't want to put it down, and I very much want to read the sequels. The story is kind of creepy, but in a Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland kind of way. Which is to say, you can read it at night and be ok, but you still might be vaguely cropped out. Highly enjoyable. ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: spooky
Be careful what you wish for

It took me 11 chapters to make sure I want to know what will happen. I liked the story as well as characters. I recommend it for teenagers, adult may find a little childlish? Still I give only 3 stars, because I think it is good book but I am happy I got it for free. I don't know if I would get it other way.
Taylor Troncin
Sep 16, 2013 marked it as pre-2016-read
I have a free ebook copy of this book. I am interested in it because it deals with WWII. The story line sounds interesting and I am curious as to what wishes Abigal goes for and what the results are. I cannot wait to read this book!
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“The Bagman lived in a castle made from the tears of children, the bones of the brave and the sighs of the dead.” 0 likes
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