Some books are destined to be lifelong treasured possessions. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, the bestselling German author of The Thief Lord, could easily lay claim to being such a book. It is a meaty, magical adventure that oozes a passion for books and the awesome power of words on a page, written by an author who clearly adores stories. Every chapter is introduced by tempting quotations from classic novels that whet your appetite for more and help underline the terrific heritage of children's literature that Inkheart is added to. Meggie is the daughter of a revered bookbinder called Mo whose peaceful existence is one night shattered by the arrival of Dustfinger--a shadowy man with a mysterious link to Mo's past. Mo and Meggie are soon on the move, running from something that threatens everything they hold dear. But the past inevitably catches up with them and Mo is forced to reveal to his daughter for the first time his terrible secret. He has the ability, or curse, to breathe life into any story he reads and make the characters come alive. Just such a character, the sinister Capricorn, is after Mo to ensure that he stays alive and is never returned to the pages from which he was sprung. And, of course, he'll stop at nothing to guarantee success. Inkheart is a treat and echoes of its many colourful characters, nail-biting drama and unrelenting invention will stay with the reader for a long time. It's also a novel for people who really love books. (Recommended for ages 10 and over.) --John McLay --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.