"Protocols: Handbook for the Female Slave" is exactly what the title says - a protocol manual. "There are as many ways of approaching an M/s relationship as there are people practicing these activities," Rubel writes. Would-be Masters who read this book may pick up a few good ideas, but they won't find any shortcuts here around the hard work of defining for themselves what the M/s relationship means and what sort of behavior they require in a slave. Likewise, it would be silly for an aspiring slave to read this book, take it to heart, and conclude she knows everything she needs to know to enter service - unless she's planning to petition Dr. Rubel.
What makes "Protocols" a valuable addition to the M/s literature has much less to do with its specific content than with its structure, its format, its simple existence. It's 150 pages of object lesson: there are plenty of books out there that talk about the concept of protocol, but here we see that concept brought to life. The purpose is not to tell the reader what his or her own system of protocols should be, but to give the reader a deep understanding of their meaning and purpose. Outside of those basic principles of etiquette which are more or less universal in the BDSM community, slave protocols are by their nature inherently idiosyncratic: it is the slave's duty to serve thier Master according to specific desires, not to be amorphously and generically pleasing. As with any other intimate interpersonal relationship, the concrete examples of others are at the same time brilliantly illuminating and nearly irrelevant.
The greatest virtue of "Protocols" is Rubel's seamless weaving together of theory and practice, allowing the abstract and the concrete to enhance each other from within. We appreciate the importance of protocols all the more when provided with examples of how they enhance the day-to-day existence of the author and his slave, and long lists of behavioral requirements that might otherwise seem dull and irrelevant suddenly seem quite special when we turn our attention to their purpose.
Masters looking to define or clarify their own system of protocol may well find this manual to be a valuable source of inspiration. Readers may well choose to borrow, or adapt to their own purposes, many of Rubel's protocols in the areas of communication and general behavior. Novice Masters and/or slaves interested in becoming involved with the larger BDSM community will find Rubel's chapter on "Social Issues" especially worthy of consideration as they prepare to present themselves to others in the context of their relationship, although they should be sure to familiarize themselves with the basics of general BDSM etiquette first.
Rubel identifies with the Leather subculture within the BDSM community, and he notes outright that his book is written from a Leather perspective and may not "resonate" with those readers to whom he refers, somewhat condescendingly, as "Non-Leather." There's a reason Rubel is respected and his books widely read among 24/7 lifestylers of all kinds; much of what he has to say both acknowledges and transcends differences.