Inkspell is the second novel in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy. The first novel, Inkheart (2003), was critically acclaimed and was made into a major motion picture released in January 2009. The third novel, Inkdeath, was published on September 28, 2007 in Germany.
A year has passed, and Meggie now lives with Elinor, Darius and her parents, Mo and Resa. Life is peaceful, but not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of Inkheart and the characters that came to life. For the fire-eater Dustfinger, the need to return to his homeworld has become urgent. When he finds a crooked storyteller named Orpheus who has the ability to read and write stories to life like Mo, he asks him to read him back. Orpheus obliges, but doesn't send Dustfinger's apprentice, Farid, back into the book as they arranged; he then steals the book from the boy and hands it over to Basta, who wants revenge for the death of his master Capricorn. Dustfinger, now in the Inkworld, regrets the fact that Farid didn't come back with him but doesn't suspect that Orpheus intended it that way. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too.
Soon after the two months are in the book, Mortola, Basta, Orpheus, and a "man built like a wardrobe" barge into Elinor's house, and take Mo, Resa, Elinor, and Darius prisoner. As per Mortola's orders, Orpheus reads Basta, Mortola, and Mo into Inkheart, but Resa comes with them by accident by getting hold of Mo. Mortola has brought along a rifle from our world, and shoots Mortimer. Resa discovers that her voice has come back to her only as she cries for her husband, praying for him to survive the wound. Resa and Mo are hiding in a secret cave with the strolling players (known also as Motley Folk) while he recovers, but they soon discover (or erroneously assume) that the injured Mo is the mysterious gentleman-robber, the "Bluejay", a fictitious hero created by Fenoglio's words made into song for the Motley Folk to sing. Fenoglio has been living within his own story since the events of Inkheart, working as a court scribe in Lombrica's capital city of Ombra, and once reunited with Meggie he asks her to read Cosimo the Fair back into the story, since he died a death the author never planned for him. Meggie doesn't feel right to interfere with the story so much but is soon convinced by Fenoglio as it will be 'a double' of Cosimo - not Cosimo himself. Reluctantly Meggie agrees to read the words when Adderheads soldier's barge into the fair and injure and kill many people by riding horses over them, but soon regrets it when she realises that it has gone wrong. Cosimo has none of his doubles memories and doesn't seem to love his wife and child anymore. Instead he 'spends his nights' with Dustfinger and Roxanne's daughter Brianna. Violante begs Fenoglio to convince Roxanne to deal with Brianna and tell her not to upset Violante's marriage. Fenoglio attempts this but fails, a mixture of Roxanne's reluctance to tell her daughter what to do and Roxanne's distracting beauty. Fenoglio thinks that Roxanne is 'too beautiful' for Dustfinger.
Cosimo's return upsets the Adderhead, ruler of the neighboring region of Argenta, whom planned to take over Lombrica once the Laughing Prince died. With the rightful heir to the throne of Ombra mysteriously brought back to life, but with no memories of 'his own' life, a war is imminent.
Mo and Resa are captured by the Adderhead's men along with many other strolling players in the cave, sold out by one of their own. Meggie, who had also been able to read a few of Fenoglio's words to aid her father in recuperating, joins Dustfinger and Farid in searching for her parents and the strolling players. Along with the Black Prince, the leader of the Motley Folk, they launch a successful rescue mission, but Mo is unable to escape because of his wound and Resa stays behind with him. Meggie goes willingly into the Adderhead's Castle of Night and, fulfilling a prophecy she and Fenoglio dreamed up and "read" into reality, offers him a bargain: Mo, a great bookbinder rather than the robber they believe him to be, will bind the Adderhead a book of immortality if he lets Meggie, Resa, Mo, and the rest of the strolling players he has captured go free. What they neglect to tell the Prince of Argenta is that if three words are written in the book ("Heart", "Spell", and "Death", referencing the titles of the books), the person who signed his name in the book to gain immortality will die instantly. However, his lieutenant Firefox, disbelieving of the entire concept from the beginning, is chosen to test it. Firefox is made immortal, surviving a fatal stabbing without suffering any consequences, but then Taddeo, the Adderhead's librarian, kills him by writing the three words in the book. Satisfied that the book works, the words are all erased and replaced by the Adderhead's name, consequently making the Adderhead invincible. Mo picks up Firefox's sword as they leave and claims it as his own, feeling a strange coldness within him; he believes his anger and sadness at the events thus far are changing him into a different person.
The Adderhead decided, as celebration for his wife giving birth to a healthy son to release all of the prisoners from his cells, but the Black Prince suspects that he instead plans to sell the prisoners into slavery. Together the robbers plan to free the prisoners, during the raid in which Basta leads, Mo learns to fight and kill and, Unfortunately Basta kills Farid, with a knife thrown at his back (The death Fenoglio had originally planned for Dustfinger) Basta is then killed himself by Mo.
Later while mourning Farids death, Dustfinger asks Meggie if she too would like to have Farid back. When Meggie agrees, he sends her to Roxanne to tell her "he will always find his way back to her". Roxanne realizes what Dustfinger plans to do and runs to him, she is too late however and watches as the White Women, (the Inkworld's Angels of Death) take Dustfinger. Farid is then brought back to life in Dustfinger's place and the story ends with Meggie reading Orpheus to the Inkworld so as to resurrect Dustfinger. Orpheus convinces Farid to become his servant in saying that it will help him bring Dustfinger back to life sooner.
While the English title is inkspell, the direct German translation would have been inkblood. This decision arose lots of negative criticism, especially because, in the third book of the trilogy, the books' names are directly addressed. While the text in the third book translates the three regarding words directly (heart, blood, death), the connection with the book titles does not appear clearly to the reader.
The audio book published by Random House Listening Library is read by Brendan Fraser, the actor that played Mo in the movie adaptation. It is approximately 18 hours and 50 minutes long on 16 disks.