Copied from a testimonial:"Good thrillers are like elegant geometrical proofs. Their drama lies not in their ultimate outcome but in their method. Though we know that the good guys will eventually triumph, we don't know how; a good thriller should keep us guessing until the last page. Ken Follett does just that."This is the first thing I had to say about Ken Follett when I completed this book. For long Jeffrey Archer has been my favourite writer and I have believed the fact that I can count on fingers the number of writers who are equally good if not better than Mr. Archer in story-telling. I think I have just come across one of those writers in Ken Follett. There were quite similarities I found out between the two. Even though this is the very first Ken Follett book I have read I can pretty much say that he's a master story-teller. As mentioned in the testimonial, you know a writer is a great writer if he can make a predictable thriller as exciting as possible.At first I was not quite sure what this book was about. I thought it was about a murder, a crime story. But it was far different from that and that is where I like this book. Normally one would continue writing about the crime and it wouldn't have been bad either. But Follett has done the duel thing, not only has he written about the crime but he's mostly focused on its effects on several peoples lives. It was not about the crime but the aftermaths of the crime. How deeply can one hidden crime can change the lives of all the people involved in it. How it can make them more suspicious of each other and how they can become more villainous. Though a bit predictable this book has a mix of everything you want in a fiction book - love, friendship, drama, crime, rivalry, treachery, suspense, thrill, family-saga etc... When someone can cover so many topics in one book, it more often than not is bond to be an excellent book. The most striking thing perhaps I think about this book was its setting. The historical details makes this book an instant like. The men's clubs and brothels, the ballrooms, the 19th century villas and carriages, the ethich of the liveried footmans and butlers is all perfectly set up by Ken Follett. It was like going back into time and witnessing all these things. I felt myself transported to London and fell in love with the city. The setting was so good. Wherever the story lacked the bite, the setting more than enough made up for it.The character development is another thing why you love this book. Right from the start it makes you feel sympathy for all the people involved in the drowning incident and you are not able to decide which character you like the most. Most of the book goes on like this only, you are not able to guess for yourself what exactly do you want from the characters even though you know what you want from the story. Though not absolutely lovable the characters are quite captivating.Now talking about the reason for which I decided to write this review. The Story-telling. Its not an easy thing to write family-sagas, and describe the feelings of the characters for 30 years. So much changes in that time period. But Ken Follett in this book certainly has set a mood and created an atmosphere which has made it deeply engrossing. I especially liked the fact that Follett kept his writing very simple and to the point all the time, nothing so extravagant just to excite the readers and things not related to the story. All 568 pages of the book are very much linked up with the story. Many a times when the book is set over decades writers drift away from the actual plotline and thats what blights a great book. There was only one thing I didn't like in this book and that was the reason why I am not adding it to my favourites. The thing was the relationship between Hugh and Maisie. How can you fall so deeply in love with a person with whom you have spent only 1 night, and Maisie and Hugh in this case feel in love on that very night only when they spent time with each, it was not like a haunting memory which made them love each other. And before that night they used to hate each other. Through out the book I was never able to understand their love for each other though I would have to just like everything in the book, it had a good end but I am certainly not up for one-night stands. I wish it could have been written better and more realistic feelings or at least should not have been a one night feeling. I very much gave the book 4 stars because of this thing but decided against it because it would have been unfair as the rest of the book was so perfect that it reminded me of Jeffrey Archer's [b:Kane and Abel|78983|Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1)|Jeffrey Archer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312011887s/78983.jpg|1084150].Despite a few faults in the book, especially the one I mentioned above this book had moments when I felt I should complete the book at the very go. It certainly made me stay awake at nights and want to read more of it. I usually give a book 5 star when it ends and leaves me with a feeling 'Oh..! why did it really end. I liked it so much.' This book certainly is one of that and it has given me one more writer who I am a fan of. Just like I have taken the oath with Jeffrey Archer, I will do the same with Ken Follett and try to read most of his works. Because of his genius story-telling I really feel he can become one of my favorite writers along with Archer and I am very much excited to think that this book which is not best of his works has made me so intrigued, then how good the others be. I would recommend it to all those people who like real life dramas.