I really enjoyed learning more of Miles Vorkosigan's backstory, and how his mercenary corps came to be. Since I'm reading the books out of order, it was shocking to me, to find out more about Sgt. Bothari. The way his character was handled, in the books I've read, was very tender and yet uncompromising. He was a complex man, and one of Bujold's finer creations.
That said, this was not enough of a novel to successfully contain the word "sardonic", by my count, at least seven times.