Well, new evidence has come forth. Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1) gave more obvious hints, as Enoch does not seem to age from shortly after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 to 1717, much as a character of the same name did not seem to age between World War Two and the late 1990's. Daniel Waterhouse repeatedly implies that Enoch is not exactly mortal. But perhaps Enoch is a traditional Christian name of a family of very great longevity, like the Howard families of Heinlein's work. However, in The Confusion, Jack Shaftoe makes reference to Enoch living at least a couple of centuries among other vague references to his extraordinary longevity. Toward the end of The Confusion Enoch departs for South Pacific islands, nominally on a search for Solomon's mystical gold in the aptly named Solomon Islands. Incidently, this is (near) where Bobby Shaftoe meets an Enoch root in Cryptonomicon.

So what sort of being is this Enoch Root? In The Confusion he eyes a katana with fear, quite contrary with what we have seen of him so far (carelessly walking through a mine-field comes to mind). He dies and is buried in the 1940's and yet is as vigorous as ever fifty years later. Might he be an alchemist who succeeded in his search for the philosopher's stone? Might he be a Tolkien style wizard, an angel given human form, yet great lifespan (and the appearance of an elderly man)? I shall take him at his word that he is a creature of God, one phantasized out of the will of the Creator. This creator, incidentally being Neal Stephenson, who I hope shall draw back the curtain a bit more and allow more light to fall upon the truth of Enoch Root in The System of the World.