A happy fannish thing!
Here is a report from someone who heard LMB read the first chapter (and which I have confirmed is accurate from someone who's read the book):
The biggest revelation of the reading regards the other title character, who, like Cordelia, is a viewpoint character. His name is Oliver Jole, and he’s the Admiral in charge of Barrayaran forces in the Sergyar system.
He was also Aral’s lover. Has been for years. Totally consensual poly relationship, all around. It’s not clear whether Jole and Cordelia have been physically intimate, but it’s clear from their interactions and inner monologues that both of them care deeply about each other, and both loved Aral.
*runs around screaming*
Canon poly m/m relationship in a Vorkosigan book! With Jole of all people! Queerness after what seemed like a concerted effort to run away from it in every book after Ethan of Athos!
I swear, for no particular reason I was thinking about the new book when I was drying my hair this morning, and I decided there was no way Aral/Jole would be canon because it would be too big a thing to introduce after Aral's death (besides all the other reasons, of course). And on that note, here is an analysis of the tiny bit of canon about Jole to date, from a fic writer who actually wrote Aral/Jole with Cordelia as go-between (!!) and therefore looks like a genius today.
*flails some more*