In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many loves... From the exclusive men's club and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London's upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world's wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. This breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy... men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy's death, must be stopped, or not just one man's dreams, but those of a nation, will die...
Jeremy (USA: TX) (2011/11/08): Good Follett, but not great. I found the story to be very predictable at each and every stage, but maybe that's because I've read too much Follett. The characters here are a bit contrived and tend too much toward good or evil, not a lot of grey area in between.
With that said, it was riveting and full of action, adventure, romance, and sex. I'd consider it to be a poor man's version of Follett's more fully developed historical epics, Fall of Giants and Pillars of the Earth. I couldn't help but continually thinking "Dynasty" and "Dallas" while reading this, even though the setting predates those shows by over a century.