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Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Author of the award winning

Dr. Rebecca Temple mystery series

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Published May 15, 2024 by Auctus Publishers (Philadelphia)
Thanks to publisher Dr. Krish Singh for his enthusiasm and ideas.

Washington DC 1844: When his mother is found drowned in the Potomac, 15-year-old Samuel Evans is devastated and falls gravely ill, saved by an experimental drug given to him by the gruff Dr. James Pyper who developed it from an Amazonian plant. The drug makes Samuel so sensitive to his environment that he can communicate with animals. He sets out to prove his mother didn't commit suicide, helped by encounters with numerous animals.

Review of The Orphan by International Thriller Writers, The Big Thrill


Recommended by Catherine Conmy



 Sylvia Maultash Warsh’s newest novel, THE ORPHAN, takes readers on a journey through the unsettling atmosphere of America during the 1844 presidential election and the quest for emancipation. The election determines Texas’ status as a slave state, which parallels the rising tensions of our protagonist’s timeless struggle to find truth and self-discovery. Told through Samuel’s—an alienated 15-year-old boy’s perspective, Warsh portrays juxtapositions such as lonesomeness and belonging as well as vulnerability and power.

Samuel embodies the book’s title, THE ORPHAN after he finds his mother drowned in the Potomac River. The catastrophic event compels him to prove his mother’s death was not an accident. The truth of Samuel’s family history parallels the truth of American history, as painful and unflattering as it may be.

The title is continuously called into question as Samuel finds himself entangled with a woman who helps free slaves via the Underground Railroad. But once freed, where will they go? Who will help them? The slaves’ status mirrors Samuel’s, even with different circumstances: being alone, isolated, and in search of safety—an orphan. Samuel’s plight, as well as the characters he encounters, sheds light on the non-linear journey to self-actualization and growth, both personally and as a country.

Warsh’s accessible and lyrical writing style offers readers an immersive journey into the lives of individuals during a tumultuous period in history. By skillfully weaving together historical context and vivid characterization, Warsh brings the past to life, inviting readers to empathize with the characters’ struggles and triumphs. THE ORPHAN is a captivating tale that resonates long after the final page is turned, leaving readers with a deeper appreciation for the resilience of the human experience.

Review of The Orphan by the Historical Novel Society


The Orphan



Fifteen-year-old Samuel Evans suddenly wakes up on the dissection table of an 1844 Washington City (currently Washington, DC) medical laboratory, much to the surprise of Dr. James Pyper and his medical students. What Samuel has yet to discover is that he has been revived from near-death by an experimental drug derived from an Amazonian plant. He soon discovers that his cure has endowed him with new abilities to envision the memories of animals and send them, in return, mental pictures of his own invention. This turns out to be a useful skill when investigating the deaths of his loving parents.

The author, Sylvia Maultash Warsh, masterfully guides us along a murder mystery plot set in a developing nation’s capital where corruption, greed, and lies bump up against the high stakes of doing what’s right, when everything around you is wrong. Our teenage protagonist has to learn the hard way who to trust when it comes to the new mentors in his life. With a well-developed cast of characters, Samuel experiences a wide range of emotions, from betrayal to new love. His search for resolution and belonging will keep you guessing until the very end.


The story is fast-paced with plenty of action, cliff-hangers, and twists to keep you turning the pages, while at the same time graciously reminding you of who did what so you don’t get lost in the details. Warsh blends the imaginative with real science and puts you smack dab in the middle of a turbulent time and place. A great YA historical fiction read for anyone with an affection for animals, history, and science.

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