• An alien crash lands to a human settlement, has not seen humans before. The alien has an extremely good sense of smell, and especially loves the smell of roses.
  • However, later it turns out that the smell of humans being in pain or dying is the sweetest smell to him. The smell is something like a drug causing bloodlust, making it very hard to resist hurting humans. The smell may have also given him extra strength and healing.
  • The alien's species had earlier met another species and discovered that their suffering had same effect as human suffering, and then hunted the other species to extinction.
  • In the beginning, the alien befriends a human boy/teenager, who helps nurse him back to health.
  • The alien is pretty much human-looking with some weird features (probably at least the nose).
  • After discovering the effect of human suffering, the alien tries to resist hurting humans, and mentions regret over the extinct species.
  • In the beginning, when asked whether the smell of roses is the best thing he's ever smelled, he becomes sad and just says it's not the very best.
  • At some point there is some very unpleasant man in a place they visit, and it's heavily implied that the alien goes and kills the man during the night. I think the alien tried to find some balance between his bloodlust and morality.
  • In the end after giving in to bloodlust (although he might only have killed hostiles), the alien mutilates his nose so that he won't be able to smell humans again.
  • The ending makes it seem like this is a first part of a series, since an emergency beacon signals the location of the human settlement to the aliens. I think the beacon was found by an antagonist/idiot who kept it as a nice trinket, the main characters thought it had most likely been destroyed or floated far into space.
  • The human society may have been some sort of Victorian England on floating islands.
  • I think there was a prologue where the inhabitants of the floating islands kidnapped the sick queen/princess of "our" England by posing as doctors.
  • Maybe the society had somehow left Earth?
  • There was some sort of religious authority figure (bishop?) that traveled with the main characters, there was some sort of conflict with two religious sects, who probably were some Christian varieties.
  • The religious authority's assistant was constantly insulting the other sect, but turned out to be a traitor for that sect. The authority mentioned that he should have realized that when he was too eager to constantly remind that the hated them, with insults that left a sour taste even to the authority's mouth.

I don't quite remember if this was more fantasy or science fiction, it had elements of aliens and something like space travel, but I think it was more like a fantasy.

I read the book probably sometime around 1995 to 2000... I think 2005 at the very latest. I read the book in Finnish but I'm almost certain the book was originally written in English.

I think at least the majority of the book was from the point of view of the boy who saved the alien, although at least the prologue was likely from another point of view. Most likely third person.

  • 1
    The part with hunter aliens who love the smell of human fear sounds like Maria Doria Russell's The Sparrow, as does the religion angle and the mutilation angle, but literally all of the rest of it is different. Were more stories written in that universe?
    – tbrookside
    Jul 19, 2018 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


I received the answer elsewhere. The book is Deathscent, written by Robin Jarvis and published in 2001.

The story concerns the arrival, via a strange craft, of an alien called Brindle, hailed as a heavenly messenger. He is rescued by the Elizabethan people of Malmes-Wutton, who nurse him back to health. The initial fear brought about by the unusual facial feature on his forehead, is soon gone as Brindle shows himself to be a caring friendly individual. Malmes-Wutton itself, rather than being a part of the English countryside, is a floating island encased in a glass dome, and like the other floating islands of Englandia, is part of the collection of islands making up the uplifted isles of the Reflected Realm, where in place of animals there are mechanicals, and people live greatly extended lives. After befriending the two young apprentices who work in the workshop of Malmes-Wutton, he travels with them when they depart to return to the capital of Englandia to work on war machines. Brindle appears to be the picture of innocence, and a dedicated and protective friend when the looming threat of the Spanish ambassador, his rather unusual and evil mechanical creature and other fearsome characters become more than potential problems. The reader continually discovers many other unusual aspects of this alternative "Tudor England" and, as the story develops, it is clear that Brindle himself is not all he appears, as events lead to some rather disturbing discoveries. The title 'Deathscent' represents the smell of death- Brindle and his kind have a far greater understanding of smell, but the best is smell of death when someone is killed. Notice the line 'Wars have been fought for it', instead of over it.

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