Another vote for Ken Follett. Pillars of the Earth is one of my all time favorite books, although the sequel World Without End didn't do as much for me.
Currently reading and enjoying very much, his Fall of Giants, which tells about the life prior and during world war one. Plenty of historical talk while still being a fictional story. I believe he had 8 historians to check out facts on the book before it was released - I for one am learning tons about the WWI time period which I almost didn't know anything about before!