Red Knife by William Kent Krueger

Opening lines:

It was not yet dawn and already he could smell death. It came to him in the scent of the bear fat mixed with red ochre that was the war paint smeared across his face. It was in the sulfur odor of his powder horn and in the stink of his own sweat-drenched body as he bent to the stroke of the paddle. It was in the air itself, something crisp and final, as if these were the last breaths he would ever draw, and it made his nostrils burn.