Inkheart Tintenherz

After the nightly visit of the mysterious Dustfinger, bookbinder Mo and his daughter Meggie leave their home in a hurry, carrying with them a precious but dangerous book.

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

When a stranger who knows her father knocks at their door, Mo is forced to reveal an extraordinary secret – when 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.

She was beside the bed in an instant. ‘Where did you get that?’ she shouted, tugging the book out of Elinor’s arms, which were heavy with sleep. ‘That’s my father’s!’ Elinor woke as suddenly as if Meggie had tipped cold water over her face. ‘You stole it!’ cried Meggie, beside herself with rage. ‘And you brought those men here, yes, that’s what happened. You and that Capricorn are in this together! You had my father taken away, and who knows what you did with poor Dustfinger? You wanted that book from the start! I saw the way you looked at it – like something alive! It’s probably worth a million – or two million or three million . . .’

Elinor was sitting up in bed, staring at the flowers on her nightdress and saying not a word. She didn’t move until Meggie was struggling to get her breath back. ‘Finished?’ she asked. ‘Or are you planning to stand there yelling your head off until you drop dead?’ Her voice sounded as brusque as usual, but it had something else in it too – a touch of guilt. ‘I’m going to tell the police!’ cried Meggie. ‘I’ll tell them you stole the book and they ought to ask you where my father is.’ ‘I saved you – and this book!’ Elinor swung her legs out of bed, went over to the window and opened the shutters. ‘Oh yes? And what about Mo?’ Meggie’s voice was rising again. ‘What’s going to happen when they realise he gave them the wrong book? It’s all your fault if they hurt him. Dustfinger said Capricorn would kill him if he didn’t hand over the book. He’ll kill him!’

When I started to write Inkheart, I didn't suspect that this story would grow until it could fill more than one book.

I have dreamed for a long time of writing a story in which characters from a book come into our world. Which book addict doesn’t know the feeling that the characters in a book can seem more real than the people around us? And there is of course a simple reason for that. For which real person would permit us to look into their hearts as deeply as a storyteller permits us to look into his characters’? Into the deepest regions of their souls we may spy, see all their fears, all their love and all their dreams.

And there was something else that made me write Inkheart. It was an image I saw again and again – the image of a girl kneeling on her bed and looking out of a window wet with rain. She sees someone standing outside and she doesn’t know who it is. I kept seeing this image quite clearly, almost like seeing a movie poster. All I had to do was find the story behind this image.

And writing down the story was great fun, for I got to read lots of books full of the strangest stories about book collectors, book maniacs, books thieves, book murderers, and book addicts. All these stories helped me to feed my story and this is why writing a story has never been as easy for me as it has been with Inkheart.

No story has ever forced itself onto paper as strongly and uncompromisingly and I think this has to do with the fact that it is a story about my own deepest passions – for books and for reading stories aloud.

Other books in the »Inkworld« series