I am only one page 165 and I see that transformation is a key theme of Dan Brown's fascinating new book. One tatooed man transforms himself with make up and seems to want to transform himself to be more God like. A mysterious room in the subbasement of the US Capitol has symbols of death and transformation. The sulfur and salt in saucers in the room are alchemicals that facilitate transformation.
The basic storyline so far is simple in that Professor Robert Langdon has been tricked into going to meet his friend Peter Solomon at the Rotunda in the US Capitol. The mystery person who tricked him is referred to as a lunatic by the professor but he is obviously highly educated in symbolism. But this is Dan Brown so there are more complexities to this story: Ancient Mysteries - a body of knowledge that is dangerous in the wrong hands, the Masons - a society with secrets but not a secret society, an amputated hand with tatooed finger tips, symbols, pyramids, Noetic Science. I am loving it.
This has to be read slowly. There is much to learn. I think I will recommend it for our book club.
I found this link about the US Capitol and it is clear that Dan Brown has also read William Henry's book or similar works.