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This article is about the book. For the film, see Inkheart (film).
Inkheart book.jpg
First English translation edition cover
Author cornelia funke
Original title inkheart cover_artist = Carol Lawson & Ian Butterworth
Illustrator cornelia funke
Country Germany and USA
Language German and English
Series Inkheart trilogy
Genre Fantasy, Bildungsroman
Publisher Germany Cecilie Dressler
UK Chicken House
USA Scholastic
Publication date
September 23 2003
Published in English
June 6 2005
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 1 page
ISBN ISBN 1-904442-09-9 (1st English translation)
OCLC 52783756
Followed by Inkspell

Inkheart (German title: Tintenherz) is a 2003 young adult fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke, and the first book of the Inkheart trilogy. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1]


Meggie, a young girl, lives with her father, Mortimer (called Mo), a bookbinder. Mo never reads stories aloud to Meggie because he has a special gift: when he reads a book aloud, the characters come out of the book and into the real world. One night, when Meggie is three, Mortimer reads aloud from a book named Inkheart when an evil villain named Capricorn, his aide Basta, and a fire-breather named Dustfinger escape from the book and into their living room. At the same time, Mo's wife Teresa gets trapped within the book.

Nine years later, Capricorn is on a hunt to find and destroy all copies of Inkheart and use Mo's abilities to gain more power for himself in the real world. Meggie discovers her father's secret and, along with the help of Dustfinger and Meggie's eccentric aunt Elinor, fights to free her mother and destroy Capricorn.


Meggie: A 12-year-old girl, avid reader, and the daughter of Mortimer "Silvertongue" Folchart, ambitious and troublesome. She also has the ability to read things out of books like her father. She inherits her love for books just like her father.

Mo (Mortimer): Father of Meggie, a Silvertongue who has the ability to read characters out of stories, just like his daughter. He is husband to Resa who got read into the book Inkheart when Mo accidentally read Capricorn and Basta out along with Dustfinger.

Dustfinger: A character from a book called Inkheart. Dustfinger was read out of the book by Mortimer. Dustfinger is a skilled performer who uses fire, otherwise known as a fire-eater. He has a horned marten called Gwin as his companion. He is described as having three faint scars on his face from being cut by Basta and having sandy-colored hair. Throughout Inkheart, he searches only for the book, which is the only way back to his world. Although he betrayed Mortimer and sold him out to Capricorn, he only did so because Capricorn had promised that he would be sent back home. He protects Meggie on a few occasions, and is not truly evil. He does not fit into the world he was read into, and cares only for returning home to his family, which is the reason for many of his seemingly cruel deeds.He his known for being very stealthy and skilled at remaining unseen. He has a calm and collected expression at attitude at almost all times.

Capricorn: Another character from Inkheart, he was also read out of the book by Mortimer. He is a mob boss. Capricorn is a very tall, gaunt man, pale as parchment, with short bristly hair, and very pale bright eyes. He is the main antagonist in the first book. He only cares about himself, and does not want to go back to his own world and time.

Gwin: Dustfinger's horned pet marten who lives in Dustfinger's backpack. He is not trained for he usually bites Dustfinger.

Elinor: Aunt of Mo’s wife who disappeared. Elinor is a recluse who is proud of her collection of books. At first, she is somewhat rude to Meggie, fearing that Meggie will ruin her books, but warms up to her when she realizes that Meggie loves books just as much as she does.

Basta: Character from the book Inkheart. He has a thin angular face with close set eyes, not tall with narrow shoulders. There is a note of fury about him, and he is extremely superstitious. Unlike other of Capricorn’s men who wear all black, Basta wears a white shirt. Basta is very fond of the knife he carries.

Flatnose: One of Capricorn's henchmen, who was read out of Inkheart by Darius. He is described as a tall, broad man whose face appears as if a giant had pushed in his face with a thumb.

Cockerell: Read out of Inkheart by Darius.

Darius: A nervous, small, thin man no older than Mortimer. Darius is described as having a badly bent back and wearing glasses. Capricorn had discovered that he can also read characters out of books, but does this poorly, with the characters having various deformities, due to his stuttering.

Farid: A young boy read out from the book "Arabian Nights". Farid becomes a companion of Dustfinger. Becomes very skilled at "playing with fire". He also develops a soft-spot for Meggie.

Fenoglio: The author of Inkheart. Said to have a tortoise-like face.

Mortola (the Magpie): Read out of Inkheart by Darius. She has a vulture like face. Her eyes set close together and her jaw juts forward. Her legs are swelled, and wrapped in bandages. She is very cruel as Basta claims "Compare to her my heart is as soft as a child's cuddly thing".

The Shadow: In Inkheart only appears when Capricorn calls him, leaping from the ground like fire. The concept of The Shadow is similar to that of the Nothing in Michael Ende's The Neverending Story

Resa: Wife of Mortimer, mother of Meggie, and niece of Elinor. She disappeared into the book when Mortimer first read Dustfinger, Basta, and Capricorn out of it. Later it is discovered she had lost her voice.


The sequel Inkspell was released on October 1, 2005. The third book in the trilogy, Inkdeath, was released on September 28, 2007.

Film adaptation[edit]

Main article: Inkheart (film)

A movie based on the book was released in the US and Canada on January 23, 2009. Eliza Bennett and Brendan Fraser were the first to be cast, as Meggie and Mo, respectively. The rest of the cast included Paul Bettany as Dustfinger, Rafi Gavron as Farid, Jim Broadbent as Fenoglio, Helen Mirren as Elinor, Andy Serkis as Capricorn, Sienna Guillory as Teresa, and Jamie Foreman as Basta. Iain Softley directed the film.

Critical reception[edit]

Inkheart has received praise. The New York Times Book Review described Inkheart as "sprinkled with magical fairy dust",[2] while Kirkus Reviews declared it "a true feast for anyone who has ever been lost in a book".[3] Writing in the Guardian, Diana Wynne Jones stated "I don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading". [4]


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Inkspell, back cover
  3. ^ Funke, Cornelia. "INKHEART". KIRKUS. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]