I'm not sure when the book was written, but I read it in the early 2000s

I remember that early in the book, the soldier protagonists were on earth in the future. They were in a skirmish near the pyramids(which had been encased in some kind of protective coating). Their weapons were invisible lasers(which I believe they could see with their infrared goggles). They also used a kind of "napalm" that was described as a huge number of "match heads" that would all ignite at once.

Eventually they are stranded/pinned down on an alien world(Jungle, I think, but I'm not sure of that). They are attacked by the humanoid natives, who are capable of using the soldiers weapons- I specifically remember the soldiers targeting any alien(though I guess the soldiers are the 'aliens' by this point) holding one of the human weapons, hoping to convince them it was a bad idea to pick them up.

Edit: these are marines/soldiers in space, not 40k-style space marines

  • 1
    When you say space marines, are you referring to Warhammer 40k Space Marines or marines who happen to be in space?
    – Daft
    May 17, 2016 at 12:02
  • 2
    Aah that's a good distinction to make; marines in space, closer to LV-426 than Purging in the God Emperor's name May 17, 2016 at 16:55
  • 1
    Wild guess due to coated pyramids (and lot of years passed by): Dan Simmon's Hyperion or Endymion?
    – motoDrizzt
    May 17, 2016 at 17:47
  • The invisible lasers remind me of a story I read - the weapon beams changed phase continuously (to be harder to detect?) and the soldiers wore special goggles that kept in phase with the beam, making it visible only to them. Ring any bells?
    – user22478
    May 23, 2016 at 9:41
  • @Nathan That could be; I don't specifically remember the beams changing phase, but that fits well with only the soldiers being able to see the beams with their goggles, and it being a tactical advantage- do you have a name for the story? May 23, 2016 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


Only thing that I could think of is the Fall of Prospero. Lots of 'pyramid' structures there and psychic voodoo, but doesn't fit your recollections of a battle on Terra or being pinned on an alien world.

Also came across Fate's Masters, Destiny's Servants as the description caught my eye:

Ultramarines Captain Elogos follows a strange distress signal that seems to have been sent by a member of his Chapter. Tracking it to a distant world that no Ultramarines have ever visited, he finds a primitive fortress that bears all the hallmarks of the Adeptus Astartes. As they unravel the secret of the world, Elogos and his men realise that their destiny may lie on Elysius.

Again, only quite loosely matching your criteria.

Do you have any idea if the story was a standalone novel or a short story as part of an Anthology? I would recommend scouring through the early 2000 anthology descriptions here http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Anthologies to see if anything jogs your memory (though I'm sure you've already checked...)

I would also suggest posting to http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/ They have excellent knowledge of the lore and specific areas dedicated to the Space Marines and discussion of novels.

Best of luck!

  • 2
    A for effort but i dont think this was w40k related at all.
    – Cherubel
    May 17, 2016 at 13:43
  • Not what I'm looking for in this question...but I do love the 40k world, so thanks for the resources! Oh, and it was definitely a standalone novel(though for all I know there could have been sequels) May 17, 2016 at 17:00

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