With overwhelming delight we are proud to be presenting you with the 25th installment of KP Critiques!! We enjoy all of the effort and willingness from each and every one of you who has participated. We know the great courage it took for you to submit your work to scrutiny and we thank you abundantly! Keep ’em coming! We love your critique submissions. Even if you’ve already sent one in, don’t hesitate to submit another one!  chosen

Thank you Kate for providing us with this awesome submission!

‘Edsel glanced sideways at the king and studied him searchingly from beneath half lowered eyelids. “You are afraid,” he remarked after a moment, the tiniest smile touching his lips. But it was not a warm smile— rather the touch of some new chill upon a frostbitten face of stone.

What if you cut out the “but it was not a warm smile, rather” (for one it breaks up the flow of the story) and just said, “touching his lips. Like the touch of some new chill…” ?

“What is it you fear? Is it me? Or is it something having to do with the war?

This sounds immature for a man to say.

Or perhaps you doubt your own fitness to lead so great a venture.”

This fits better.

Dunstan stared at the shipwright with hard, bright eyes. “That is not your affair, is it, Edsel?” he countered quietly. “If I stand in need of counsel, I will seek it. But not from you. One does not seek counsel from one’s enemies.”
“I am not your enemy.”
“No?” Dunstan shifted his position slightly and narrowed his eyes. “If I lost this war, Edsel, and stood before you defenseless, would you spare me?”
Edsel’s eyes sparkled strangely.

Careful with the usage of adverbs; it’s OK to use them, but be choosy in which ones you use.

“We will know if the time comes, I suppose,” he replied. “Why should I bear you any love, Dunstan? Tell me that.”
“Because I spared you when by the law I ought to have hanged you,” Dunstan replied. “You owe your life, and everything you have here in Fiarad, to my mercy. Is that not reason enough for gratitude?”

I’m a tad confused here.

Edsel did not answer immediately, but folded his arms across his chest and stared out into the rising mist that shrouded the plain from his sight.

Love the visual!

“So long as you prevail against these rebels, you have whatever I can offer you at your service,” he said at last. “Everything that is mine is yours, save only my oath of allegiance. That only will I withhold.”
“And I would forfeit every other thing you offered me to obtain the one thing you will not give,” Dunstan countered with a frown. “Why will you not give it? Are you afraid I would abuse your trust?”
“No,” Edsel replied. “I know you too well to fear that. But I will bind myself to no man and risk harming my family or my place.

Do you mean position, rank? If that’s the case perhaps find a different word?

You cannot swear to me that you will win, Dunstan,” he said suddenly, turning his face and fixing his darkling

Never heard of this word before! Nice. 😛

eyes upon Dunstan with burning intensity. “In the end, he who wins will have my allegiance.”
Dunstan’s lip curled in a scornful little smile. “Is it so simple in your eyes?” he demanded. “The victor is always in the right?”
Edsel smiled patiently and leaned forward with one hand braced on the parapet, his eyes like two coals in his white face. “No,” he replied. “Not so simple as that. But no man, whatever his circumstances, would do well to offer his oath to a man who fears what tomorrow may bring— who doubts his own fitness to lead those he is appointed to lead. Such a man will never obtain my allegiance.” Ooh, burn.
Dunstan’s face hardened. “No man does not fear in war,” he retorted sternly.
Edsel straightened up and let his arms hang useless at his sides, permitting his eyes to travel with almost insolent freedom over Dunstan’s straight, hardy form. “Perhaps,” he said at last, gathering his cloak about himself as a chill little wind picked up and wailed

If it’s little wind it wouldn’t exactly wail. Something less than that.

over the edge of the wall in cutting drafts. “But he who doubts himself has already lost it.”’

Interesting scene. There were times when I couldn’t remember who was antagonizing who, but it seems like they are both at each other’s throats.
The dialogue is a bit childish in places for grown men, especially if one of those men is a king. He would speak with a measure of diplomacy and dignity. But for the most part the dialogue was excellent!

There were a number of adverbs that weakened the passage in places. It’s good to be careful and choosey with your usage of adverbs. (Obviously you can use however many you want; it’s your book. ;))
Overall it was a great passage! Keep it up!
~Haley Long