George Eliot should be on that list, in my opinion. But as she (yes, she) is not, I'm going with Tolstoy, as Anna Karenina and War and Peace are two of my favorite books of all time. Dickens is up there for me as well.
I WILL, however, finish Proust's great work, In Search of Lost Time (aka Remembrance of Things Past). ;)
I'd say Jin Yong ranks on my top list of novel writers. His characters are extremely colorful and deep. His female protagonists are probably the most realistic women personality. In fact, I am certain that some archetype of women in later novels are based on his creations.
Assuming I an reading fictions.
H. G. Wells is pretty good too but I prefer action series.