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I read this a few years ago but forgot the title.

The book starts out with a manufacturing company that, through some corporate savvy, eventually makes a breakthrough in using sonic waves to manipulate atoms to build complex things. The need a lot of gold to make this work on a large scale, so they get an investor. Eventually they succeed and the company owner gets wealthy. So wealthy that he makes many enemies and needs protection. This sonic builder device bootstraps other tech and then the story evolves into building high tech devices for the military industrial complex, and then moves on to eventually building a space elevator on the island of São Tomé.

My memory becomes vague at this point. There's much intrigue going on, where the owner of the company has enemies and has to move around the world and go into hiding, because people want to kill him. This might have been a second or third book in a series. I also remember that at some point they are able to transfer their consciousness into synthetic versions of themselves; in fact I think the owner of the company uses these synthetic versions of himself to meet with high level government officials from around the world, to facilitate the building of this space elevator.

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  • Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year did you read this, and when do you think it might've been published? Also, do you recall any details about the cover? May 8 at 15:54
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    I read this in late 2016, I think this was a recommendation from Goodreads after reading The Three Body problem.
    – D A
    May 8 at 16:02
  • For those curious about the particular location chosen, that island is among those that might be best for a space elevator due to its equatorial position.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 8 at 16:03
  • Yes, part of the plot of the story was the geography needed to support the ground base to build and fabricate the space elevator. Also the island nation of Principe was a factor in the story as well.
    – D A
    May 8 at 16:57
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    @FuzzyBoots That, in addition to it being a small island, which would keep it out of the way of most air traffic, which could be a problem for a space elevator on any continental mainland. I've heard the Galapagos islands or Kiribati as candidates for the same reasons, but São Tomé has the added advantage of being a short boat ride away from Gabon or Nigeria, while the others are much further away from any other land. May 9 at 15:14

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This is probably the Fear Saga by David Moss. The order of some of the events is a little different to your recollection, but the specific events you mention all appear.

Three books (Fear the Sky, Fear the Survivors, Fear the Future) published in 2014 and set in the near future, where an alien armada is en route to take over the Earth, with a team of androids sent in advance to ensure that no effective resistance will be made. One of the advance team ('John Hunt') is actually a sympathiser who helps humanity to rapidly develop technologically and strategically so that they can mount an effective defence.

The sonic device is made of gold, and allows direct manipulation at molecular level to construct complex devices.

But by far the most notable feature of the big, strange-looking machine was that the sphere at its center seemed to be made of solid, gleaming gold.

Looking at the screen it appeared as though the objects were hovering in midair inside the sphere and this was, actually, exactly what was happening.  They were being held there by the focused resonance being pumped into the sphere by the devices that radiated from its exterior, and as the tech adjusted the fields, they were able to flip the three objects over and move them around relative to each other.

The space elevator based at Sao Tome is in the second book:

a plan was forming to actually build an elevator to space. [...] So that left one small, rocky island, little more than a vacation resort, off the coast of the African island nation of Sao Tome e Principe.

The other recollections also occur, including devices that connect to the spine to allow direct control of machinery, being under threat initially from the alien agents, and later a falling out with the world leaders (and former friends and colleagues) as a result of some dubious ethical decisions.

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