Cornelia Funke Wiki
For other uses, see Inkheart (disambiguation).
Cornelia Funke's Inkheart.jpg
Author(s) Cornelia Funke
Translator Anthea Bell
Illustrator Cornelia Funke
Cover Artist Cornelia Funke
Country Germany


Publisher(s) Cecilie Dressler Verlag (Germany)

The Chicken House (UK)

Followed by Inkspell

Inkheart (originally titled Tinterhertz) is a 2003 young adult novel by German author Cornelia Funke, and the first in the Inkheart trilogy. It was translated into English by Anthea Bell. Up to date Inkheart has sold over three million copies worldwide.


I dedicate Inkheart to Anna, who even put The Lord of the Rings aside for a while to read it. Could anyone ask more of a daughter?

And to Elinor, who lent me her name, although I didn't use it for an elf queen.


Meggie loves stories, but her book-binding father, Mo, hasn't read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously disappeared.

When a stranger knocks at their door, Mo is forced to reveal an extraordinary secret - as he reads aloud, words come alive, and dangerous characters step out of the pages.

Suddenly, Meggie is living the kind of adventure she has only read about in books, but this one will change her life for ever.

Detailed Plot Summary

Meggie is a twelve year old girl who lives with her father Mortimer, who she nicknames Mo. Mo is a bookbinder who has passed his great love of books to his daughter, but for some unknown reason never reads aloud.

One night a mysterious stranger called Dustfinger appears at Meggie’s home to talk to Mo. Meggie eavesdrops on their conversation, and learns that someone called Capricorn is after a book Mo has. The next day, Mo, Meggie, and Dustfinger travel to the house of Elinor Loredan, Resa's aunt, where he believes Inkheart will be safe. But Mo is unaware that Capricorn has promised Dustfinger that if he can bring Mo to his hideout, he will return Dustfinger to the Inkworld, which is his greatest wish, since Capricorn wishes to use Mo's skills to his advantage.

Dustfinger persuades Elinor to turn off her burglar alarm because he wishes to show his skills with fire to Meggie, which an only be done at night. Capricorn’s henchmen break in into the library and capture Mo, and his copy of Inkheart, which is the last copy in existence. But unbeknownst to Mo, Elinor has swapped Inkheart for a different book.

When Elinor and Meggie, along with Dustfinger, attempt to rescue Mo in exchange for the book. They too are captured. When Dustfinger expects his reward, Capricorn reveals to Dustfinger that he never intended to bring him back to the Inkworld, leaving him crushed.

Mo finally tells Elinor and Meggie how Resa got missing. When Mo reads aloud, things come off the page when he reads, and something or someone from the real world get sent in in their place. One night, Mo was reading Inkheart to Resa and suddenly Capricorn, Basta, and Dustfinger appear. Mo managed to overpower Capricorn and Basta and drove them out of the house. He then discovered that Resa and the family's two pet kittens were missing, sent into Inkheart in the places of Capricorn, Basta, and Dustfinger. Later, Capricorn has Mo read for him from a variety of books containing treasure. Mo accidentally reads a boy out of the book One Thousand and One Nights, Farid.

Meanwhile, Dustfinger recruits the help of a maidservant, Resa, who was read back into the real world. Resa lost her voice due to the reader Capricorn found, Darius, before Mo. Because of his stumbling, the people he reads for Capricorn are disfigured during the process of traveling between worlds.

Free from Capricorn’s clutches Mo, Meggie, Elinor, Dustfinger and Farid find FenoglioInkheart’s author, in the hopes that he might have another copy of Inkheart. Fenoglio reveals his last copies were given to a museum, and were stolen. While Mo happens to be away, Capricorn's henchman capture Meggie and Fenoglio. Capricorn discovers that Meggie too has the gift.

Capricorn has Meggie read his most feared servant, the Shadow, out of Inkheart. Fenoglio requests Basta to give him paper in exchange for some "charms" that will help Basta regain the keys from Mortola. He crafts up an alternate ending: the Shadow turns on his former master, and the creatures the Shadow has destroyed are brought back to life, while the Shadow is vanquished. Meggie is to slip the piece of paper up her sleeve.

The plan is successfully carried out, with a close call as Mortola tries to stop Meggie. Capricorn's henchmen mysteriously disappear with the exception of Basta, Mortola and Darius. It is discovered that Fenoglio has went into Inkheart in the place of the Shadow, a fact Dustfinger is bitter about. Basta and Mortola escape while Darius goes with Elinor to help rebuild her destroyed library.

Film Adaption

Main article: Inkheart (film)

Inkheart was adapted into a film in 2008.