"My husband has signed three US publishing contracts and not only is he wedded to those companies “for life” he’s wedded to them in death as the terms extend for the length of the copyright which is 70 years after his death."
He should be so lucky. At some point--without a doubt, in his lifetime--the publisher will take Michael Sullivan's books out of print, and he'll be able to request reversion of his rights.
Even for those rare books that don't go out of print, copyright law provides for creators to demand reversion after 35 years.
Although I'm all for author-friendly contracts, and thankful that Ann and Nathan have been able to get free, Ridan's author termination provision is a sign of its lack of real-world experience. Publishers need to guard their own interests--and allowing your authors to boot you to the curb anytime they want is not good business practice.