Inkheart (original title: Tintenherz) is a young adult-child fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke, and the first book of the Inkworld trilogy.
The book is about a 12-year-old girl named Meggie Folchart whose life changes dramatically when she realizes that her father, a bookbinder named Mortimer (Mo), has an unusual ability: when he reads aloud, he can bring characters from books into the real world. Meggie and Mo's adventure takes them throughout Europe, particularly Italy, and brings them into contact with many unusual characters. The sequel, Inkspell, was released on October 1, 2005, and the third book in the trilogy, Inkdeath, is set to be released in October, 2008.
In the story of Inkheart, there is a story within a story
: Mo originally brought 4 of Inkheart
's characters to life while reading aloud from a novel which is also called Inkheart
- Basta, Capricorn, Dustfinger
, and Dustfinger's pet marten, Gwin
. Dustfinger, a fire eater
, desperately wants to return to the world of the fictional novel; Capricorn, the villain
of both the "real" and "imaginary" stories, wants Mo (and later, Meggie, who shares her father's unusual gift) to summon an evil monster
forged from the ashes of the murdered known as the Shadow, from the fictional novel; and Basta is Capricorn's right-hand man who loves his knife. There is a dramatic twist when one day, 9 years after the characters pop out, Dustfinger and Gwin show up on Meggie and Mo's doorstep begging Mo to send him back into the world of inkheart. He will do whatever it takes to get back to the land he loves, maybe even betray Mo and Meggie to Capricorn...
In Inkheart, twelve-year-old heroine, Meggie, discovers that her father Mortimer, a professional bookbinder, has the unusual ability to transfer characters from books into the real world when he is reading aloud. Scared by his own talents, Mo once brought four characters of a book entitled Inkheart to life while reading from the novel, including Dustfinger, a fire eater; his pet marten Gwin; Capricorn, the book's villain; and Basta, Capricorn's right-hand man — in bitter exchange of his wife Resa, who disappeared tracelessly into the so-called Inkworld of the book. After many years Dustfinger returns to pay Meggie and her father a visit, advising them to flee the country to escape Capricorn and his following who are in search of Mo and his Inkheart copy. The three of them eventually leave to hide at Meggie's great-aunt Elinor's house in Northern Italy but end up being dragged off by Basta and his companions to the near village of Capricorn where Mo is forced to read both treasure and an evil creature, The Shadow, out of the book, using Meggie as his hostage. Soon Meggie discovers she has the same talent as her father, and with the help of Inkheart author Fenoglio, her re-read mother, and One Thousand and One Nights character Farid she helps killing Capricorn and his entourage with the power of her reading talent.
On more than one level, Inkheart is a book about books and the love of reading. Meggie and Mo are both avid readers; Meggie has carried a box (made by her father) of her favorite books with her all of her life. But also, Inkheart references many other works of literature. In addition to the characters from the fictional novel Inkheart, Mo also brings to life a boy (named Farid) who belongs in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, and makes gold appear from Treasure Island. Meggie's reading causes Tinker Bell from Peter Pan to appear, and she also conjures up the soldier from "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, at the request of the Magpie, Capricorn's mother. Later, during an experiment for Fenoglio, she also solicits the soldier back.
- Meggie Folchart- The 12 year old main character who loves books. She is Mo's daughter and inherits the ability to read out loud, and bring the book to life. In the end she reads Fenoglio's new story to bring an end to Capricorn. She also has a crush on Farid though it isn't known until the next book.
- Mortimer Folchart- AKA Silvertongue and Mo, father of Meggie and also a skilled bookbinder. He has the ability to read things out of their stories. This power creates Capricorn and mainly causes trouble for everyone.
- Teresa Folchart- also known as Resa. Meggie's mother, and she is beautiful. Mo accidently read her into the Inkworld and could read her out. She was considered Capricorn's favorite maidservant. She lost her voice after Darius brought her back out of Inkheart. Dustfinger has a liking for her, even though he has a wife back in the Inkworld.
- Dustfinger- a fire-eater. Dustfinger was taken out of Inkheart at the same time Capricorn was. However, unlike Capricorn, he has a strong desire to go back to the land of Inkheart. He even betrays his friends in an attempt to re-enter the book, but returns to help Mo. He later becomes Farid's mentor.
- Capricorn- The antagonist in the story. Full of evil, he was taken out of Inkheart unintentionally by Mo and wishes to gain as much power as possible. His mother is Mortola AKA The Magpie and his father was a blacksmith who taught him that power is the only the thing that matters.
- Basta- One of Capricorn's most loyal servants, very superstitious and also brings his knife everywhere he goes. Fears fire greatly. Always wears long sleeves because he was once burned up to his shoulders by fire. He started chewing peppermint leaves when a girl told him that he had bad breath.
- Elinor Loredan-Meggie’s great aunt. She has an unhealthy obsession with collecting books, however when her collection is destroyed she is able to recover, but she does try to seek vengeance.
- Fenoglio- The author of Inkheart (not to be confused with Cornelia Funke), in the end he creates a new story for Meggie to read aloud which causes an end to both Capricorn and the Shadow, but disappears into his own novel after Meggie reads his words.
- Farid- A boy who was read out of the story One Thousand and One Nights by Mo. He eventually became obsessed with Dustfinger because he was fascinated by fire. He has a crush on Meggie which isn't known until the next book.
- Gwin- Dustfinger's pet marten, he is special because he has horns unlike most martens. He was read out of the book with Dustfinger. Has a strong relationship with Farid.
- Mortola- AKA The Magpie, Capricorn's mother, servant, and poisioner
- The Shadow- Capricorn's loyal assistant, nonhuman, and supernatural, he is made out of the ashes of his victims and serves as Capricorn's personal assassin. In the end he winds up being the cause of Capricorn's death.
- Cockerell- One of Capricorn's assistants read out of Inkheart, and has a limp.
- Darius- He can also read things out of books like Mo, however,if he stutters, he damages the creation
- Flatnose- One of Capricorn's assistants, read out of Inkheart with a flat nose because of Darius stuttering.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
A movie based on the book
is scheduled to be released January 9, 2009. Eliza Bennett
and Brendan Fraser
were the first to be cast. Paul Bettany
will play the role of Dustfinger, a fire-eater. Rafi Gavron
is set to play Farid, the Arabian boy, who came out of the book 1001 Nights. Jim Broadbent
will play the part of Fenoglio, Helen Mirren
is set to play Elinor Loredan, and Andy Serkis
has been cast as Capricorn. Sienna Guillory
will play the part of Resa, Meggie will be played by Eliza Bennett
, and Jamie Foreman
will be playing Basta. Actress Jessie Cave
, who plays Lavender Brown in the Harry Potter series, will play a nymph. Iain Softley
will direct the film.
This movie comes out January 9, 2009 in the US and Canada.