Funke’s story is about the power and  magic of books. They bring great joy to a family, Mo, Teresa, and Meggie,  and yet they also bring great calamities. When Mo, also called Silvertongue, reads he accidentally transports fictional characters and objects to his own world. Conversely, Mo also inadvertently draws people or things into the book’s world. 

To his sorrow, and without meaning to, Mo has read his wife, Teresa, into the dangerous world of Inkheart. He has accidently sent a hapless fire-eater into his own world and let loose some of Inkheart‘s most dangerous villains. 

Mo pities the fire-eater, Dustfinger, who longs to return to the pages of Inkheart. Dustfinger hates, the speed, and the crowds of the contemporary world.

Though Dustfinger traitorously works with the arch villian, he later tries to free Mo’s family from the clutches of Capricorn and his men. Along with two companions, Farid and Gwin, Dustfinger bravely returns to Capricorn’s village. 

Mo has two competing desires. He fervently wants to free his wife, Teresa, from Inkheart‘s pages but he also wants to keep his daughter, Meggie safe. 

Capricorn wants Meggie to read another villian to life, the nefarious Shadow, so that he can execute prisoners. Fengolio, Inkheart’s author, desperately wants to re-write his own fictional work. 

This is a heart-stopping race to the finish for Mo, his family, and his friends.  This novel has lots of action but also beautiful passages and characterization.