France, 1791. Amid the political turmoil of the French Revolution, another revolution is taking place, an ambitious project to remeasure the Paris meridian, thus determining the precise distance from the North Pole to the Equator in order to calculate a new base unit of length, the meter, establishing a rational system of measurement based on nature that will unite all people of all nations for all time. A young surveyor and would-be savant sets out for Southern France, charged with reconnoitering the ground ahead of the main expedition and drawing preliminary maps of poorly charted land near the frontier with Spain. In the course of his travels, he realizes people are rarely rational, and not everyone wants to live in a savant's utopia. He also discovers love, rivalry, murder, and a sense of place as he pieces together a map of life that will serve him for the rest of his days. The Measure of the World is a tale of adventure and misadventure exploring how maps tell stories, charting physical and metaphysical ways through the world, defining who we think we are and what we value.