The story of an epic marijuana score that leaps from the slopes of Aspen to the shores of Colombia, from Boston to North Carolina, and all over California. Once in motion, this very long melodrama rarely sags, even though most of the characters are less than memorable. Most vivid is the 22-year-old kingpin and villain who sets up the score, Tom Caval, an Aspen lush-lifer who is the John Travolta of dope dealers--a strutting peacock and absolute lord who has dealers from far corners of the marijuana universe bidding for his goods: ten tons of whackingly far-out, flower-rich, drippingly resinous pot so powerful that just to handle the bales gets you high intra-porously. Soon this incredible stuff is making a journey by sailing ship from Colombia through the windward passage between the Caribbean and the North Atlantic, a crossing ripped by storms and pirates. The ship is undermanned, the boards are popping and leaking, the pumps fail. . . and the lesser Aspenites who have been drawn into Caval's plot have no idea that they are being led by a cocaine-crazy superman-adolescent. Chief among the seduced are Jack Sidell, an architect with yachting experience; Mark Isinger, a tyro tax lawyer; and Joe Eiler, an ice-cold dealer whose late wife was drugged and raped by Mexican police and who is now in love for the first time in years (with a narc). When these folks find they're doing the dirty work and will be fall guys while Caval makes over a million, the final ironies become worth waiting for. And there's a terrific romantic punch in store. Somewhat overextended, but an impressive action debut nonetheless.