Frances Vieta

The main character, Ceseli, is a young American archeologist traveling to the royal city of Axum to research the obelisks for her dissertation. She recently suffered the loss of her father, an international lawyer and archeological buff, with whom she was very close. Upon her arrival in Ethiopia, she meets Marco, an aristocratic Italian doctor working at a hospital in the capital where she will be staying. Ceseli’s visit to Ethiopia is expected to be just long enough to complete her research, but events surrounding romance and the allure of Ethiopian history, culture, and the safety of its people keep her there much longer. While she is there, Mussolini is looking for any excuse to invade Ethiopia. Despite everyone’s advice and protests, when the war arrives Ceseli stays in Ethiopia to assist at the hospital and care for the wounded. She experiences the atrocities of war, the smell of death, and the sadness of continued loss of the countrymen she has come to love. She watches in horror as Mussolini defies the Geneva Convention and uses mustard gas on the citizens of Ethiopia, bombs hospitals, and annihilates every human with whom they come into contact. Tragedy brings Marco and Ceseli together in the warzone only for history to tear them apart.

Selected Works

Can newfound love survive the ravages of modern warfare in the land of the Queen of Sheba? Twenty-something Ceseli Larson is mourning the recent death of her cherished father. His passing comes as she prepares to undertake a planned but harrowing expedition to the lost ruins of Axum. Axum, capital of an ancient kingdom and the possible resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, was also once the famous home of the Queen of Sheba. Ceseli hopes to uncover its long-forgotten archaeological mysteries. What she does not count on, though, is that Benito Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia looms on the horizon, about to be unleashed, sending an already dangerous journey into chaos. Nor does she expect the feeling she discovers for a young Italian doctor, nor the romance that blossoms between them. Love in the Land of Barefoot Soldiers is a sweeping tale of romance and war, as Ceseli is caught between the movements of empires and her growing love for a member of the invading army. History and the destruction of the modern era collide in this exciting drama.

Quick Links

Find Authors


About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Frances Vieta then lived in Rome, Italy for twenty-seven years as a journalist/​writer for both the American and Italian media. Her expert articles included terrorism, art and food.
For much of that time she worked with the specialized offices of the Carabinieri posing as a would-be buyer to recover stolen art. This is the basis for a memoir: Looters’ Paradise: Recovering Italy's Plundered Treasures.
She was a long time consultant with the United Nations with frequent travel in Africa and in Ethiopia. This is the basis for an historical novel set in 1935, Love in the Land of Barefoot Soldiers.
She now lives in New York City.

A Gone-with-the Wind historical novel set in 1935 Ethiopia during the Italian invasion.