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It has been thirteen years since Susan Orlean's last book, but the author of the number one bestseller The Orchid Thief couldn't have chosen a better subject to break her silence. Rin Tin Tin was less a pet than a national institution and an international icon. Indeed, the film star German Shepherd and his nine namesake descendants embody an odd convergence of reality and myth. Sometimes, in fact, the reality almost seems like myth: The original Rin Tin Tin (1918-1932) was born on a World War I battlefield and got his first big Hollywood break playing not a dog, but a wolf. Once he hit his stride, people flocked to theatres to see his leaps and pursuit of villains. In fact, the success of his movies is credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy. As in her Discovery pick The Orchid Thief, Orlean renders her story with peerless aplomb.