12-year-old Meggie Folchart adores books. It's not surprising, seeing as her father Mo is a bookbinder by trade. What is surprising, though, is that Meggie's father has never aloud to her- a fact she doesn't understand until a strange fire eater named Dustfinger comes knocking on their door, warning them that an old enemy is on the hunt for them.

Dragged across Europe to her Aunt Elinor's house, Meggie soon uncovers her father's secret. Mo Folchart, or "Silvertongue", has the strange ability to bring fictional characters out of their books simply by reading aloud. In discovering his ability, Mo transported three characters out of a fantasy book called "Inkheart"- cowardly Dustfinger, superstitious henchman Basta and the evil Capricorn. He also transported Meggie's mother into the book, and lost her forever. Now, Dustfinger is desperate to get back into Inkheart, but Capricorn has other plans. Having made his base in an Italian village, Capricorn has no intention of ever returning to his own world, and is therefore trying to find and destroy all of the remaining copies of Inkheart.

Soon, Meggie, Mo, Elinor and Dustfinger find themselves caught up in Capricorn's plans for world domination. Can they defeat him in time to save our world, or will Capricorn be able to use Mo's ability to summon his most evil ally out of Inkheart, making him unstoppably powerful?